Saturday, December 1, 2007

Act Now - Momentum builds to Rial and GCC revaluation

Recent media and press reports are building rapidly to prepare the ground for a revaluation of the GCC currencies, including the Omani Rial. A great example is Wednesday's story in Arabian Business and here.
The latest issue of international magazine The Economist also called for a GCC revaluation at minimum, and expressed a preference for a basket that included the oil price explicitly. The brother of Oman's powerful Minister of National Economy was also quoted last week musing in the press that a 5% revaluation would be appropriate, importantly making the link to Oman's previous devaluation when oil prices were low and advocating a simple revaluation while remaining on a dollar peg. The well-connected and perceptive Muscati also reported last week that those in the know in the Omani Government are moving money into AED.
I suspect the 'compromise' agreement will be a general GCC revaluation of 5-10% announced very very soon - maybe before Wednesday as the GCC meets Monday - while retaining a dollar peg. I think a basket a-la Kuwait will prove too difficult in the short term to agree on. Once the decision has been made, and all indications are that it has already been made except perhaps the exact % amount, the change will need to come very quickly to avoid massive speculation.
So, dragon's advice - get as many Dhirams as you can today or tomorrow, or at least don't sell rials for USD or other currency for a week or so. The rial may not revalue as far as the UED. Once the market decides a revaluation [or devaluation] is on the cards it quickly becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy as the flow of funds can overwhelm even the largest Central Bank resources. So, fill your boots kids, and make a cool short-term return. You can be sure the GCC won't be devaluing, so there's not a lot of downside here...

3 comments:

  1. considering the short term: you were wrong...you gave too much credit to the GCC fiscal policy makers.

    medium to long term: de pegging is likely but I fear many countries are worried that after the first evaluation..their currencies will experience devalation due to some countries fragile economies.

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  2. Fair enough Anon - I thought it was worth a punt. And there are still several 'officials' of both banks and Governments calling for it, or predicting a revaluation's imminent. See Gulf News Article

    I'd still see a shift of the peg likely v soon if US interst rates continue to drop and oil prices stay high.

    We'll see!

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