As reported in The Tribune today (and on Muscat Confidential yesterday), the Minister of C&I Maqbool Bin Ali Bin Sultan 'held talks' with Oman Pension funds (which are anyhow mostly Government controlled) and telling them the drop in the market was ' not justified' and was hurting small investors, so they'd better sort it out - ie BUY, BUY, BUY. (Aside: The Minister probably had to get involved as clearly the exortations of the Chairman of the Omani Chamber of Commerce to not sell didn't really work a couple of weeks ago...)
Of course, a big driver behind the drop has been the recent 10%+ growth in the strength of the dollar, to which the Omani rials is fixed. And the significant drop in Omani oil price. This has emboldened overseas investors (and perhaps some Omani big boys too...) to get money out of the MSM and into pounds or Euros.
But, as the Government controls who runs the Pension funds, I expect the boys will do what their paymaster has instructed them to do with gusto today, or perhaps they won't be running a pension fund for much longer. And perhaps then the papers here will report on the MSM's 'record rise' and how everythings obviously totally OK... LOL.
Maqbool holds talks with pension funds
MUSCAT HE Maqbool Bin Ali Bin Sultan, Minister of Commerce and Industry and chairman of the Capital Markets Authority, on Saturday held talks with pension funds to find out the reasons behind the Muscat Securities Market slump and the steps need to regain investors’ confidence.
Profits of listed companies in the first half of 2008 has been 54 per cent higher compared to the same period last year. Hence the minister felt the market plunge was not justified. He also pointed to the stability of the economic conditions in the Sultanate. High oil prices during the first half of the year also saw the implementation of a number of projects across the country, he added.
Maqbool urged pension funds to manage their investments in a manner that while enhancing their profits boosted small investors’ confidence.
CMA CEO HE Yahya Bin Said Al Jabri said the main reason behind the slump was that investors sold shares in some companies to buy shares in other Omani companies, a pointer to their trust in the local economy.