The diary of a Saudi man, currently living in the United Kingdom, where the Religious Police no longer trouble him for the moment.

In Memory of the lives of 15 Makkah Schoolgirls, lost when their school burnt down on Monday, 11th March, 2002. The Religious Police would not allow them to leave the building, nor allow the Firemen to enter.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Talking Up 

King Abdullah has come to the rescue of our tumbling Stock Exchange. But first, he has other important matters to consider....

And may I say, Your Majesty, how nice your pussy is looking this morning!

It's not just me, is it? There is a black pussy cat on his chin, isn't there? Now if it were possible to fail an "Ink Blot Test", I'd be the person to do it. But look here, surely someone else sees a resemblance?

Anyway, this is not another Cat post, it's a Stock Exchange post. So we must once more travel to that corner office in the Ministry Of Finance....

Saeed awoke with a start and snorted, which propelled the stick of Miswak out of his nostril and groundwards at high speed. It lodged between his big toe and its neighbor, which was quite amazing, except that he had other things on his mind besides Miswak Miracles.

"Kaffirs", he grunted.

Ibrahim and AbdulAziz looked at him in surprise. He wasn't normally this talkative. "Kaffirs?", they asked.

"Yes, Kaffirs. Infidels. Unbelievers. Westerners. We'll get them to prop up our Stock Market."

"Not a chance!" said Ibrahim, "They aren't stupid. They've had Stock Exchanges for a century or more. They've seen it all, the ups, the downs, the frauds, the bubbles. They wouldn't touch ours with a long pole!"

"They won't have a choice", replied Saeed. "Because they can't do without our gas. You'd think they'd be sensible enough to go for small automobiles, but no, they seem to get bigger and guzzlier all the time. I've been there. Huge Humvees coming out of gated compounds driven by little old ladies, really scary. It's like "Cocoon" meets "Patton"" .

"OK, so they buy our gas", said AbdulAziz, "But how does that help our Stock Market?"

"Simple. Set up a Mutual Fund for small investors, the ones who haven't been burnt yet. Base it on the Stock Market. If the market goes up, their fund goes up, and they're happy. But if the market goes down, we'll use our windfall oil revenues to shore up their investment, so they don't lose a Riyal, and they are still happy.
And every time the Kaffirs pump gas, they pump up our Stock Market!"

AbdulAziz looked at Saeed in admiration. Perhaps there was an argument for inbreeding, after all....

And so it came to pass....

King acts to calm Saudi investors

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia promised to create a risk-free investment fund for ordinary Saudis yesterday as the Gulf kingdom's collapsing stock market experienced another sharp fall.

In his latest effort to revive the market and appease an angry public, King Abdullah said the state would shoulder any losses from a new fund aimed at small investors with a maximum of SR500,000 ($133,000) to invest.

Mind you, it's about time the King stepped in. Everyone's been talking down the Stock Market for weeks now, like the UK "Financial Times"....

The Tadawul All-Shares index was down 9.7 per cent by yesterday afternoon, exacerbating a collapse that has ruined tens of thousands of Saudi investors, who had been encouraged by the authorities to ride the stock markets as a means of spreading wealth generated by the oil boom.
Saudi stocks have lost half their value, or about $400bn, since peaking in February, when frenzied speculation drove the market's value to the equivalent of more than 200 per cent of gross domestic product.

King Abdullah has had enough of the nay-sayers, the moaners, especially the negative, carping press. He said as much to journalists earlier this week (Thanks "Angie")....

The king, whose media persona is of a modernizing father figure (??!? - AA), also warned the media against "hurting the country" in comments that appeared to refer to a stock market crash that began earlier this year.
"I ask you to go easy on ... unclear issues based on rumors and not to write things that hurt your country," he said.
"Some correspondents just want to stand out and they go too far. If he has something, he should go to the relevant minister to clear up the picture. Others just want to laugh at misfortune and that's not our way."

Quite right. Enough of this pessimistic journalism, not to mention Blogs. No more Talking Down. Now is the time for Talking Up. That's King Abdullah's way.

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