I'd like to add my congratulations too.
May His Majesty continue to rule his country with success and wisdom for many, many, more years to come.
Enjoy the fireworks, parades, soak up the pride in your country, and during the holiday next week perhaps think about what you can do to make things better. Its not like HM can do it on his own.
I know some of my Omani readers think that sometimes I'm a bit too carping and critical about Oman's occasional foibles and problems, but I believe in the principal of an honorable opposition and in the value of criticism to lead to improvement. Sometimes a third party can see things that those blinded by nationalism cannot.
It was perhaps a nice present to read that Merrill Lynch thinks Oman's economy is the most robust in the GCC, and is among the world’s 10 least vulnerable economies. Although that's an opinion to be somewhat tempered by the fact that
(a) it's written by Merrill Lynch [hardly "one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies" any more], and
(b) contains places like Nigeria.
But still, better than our regional neighbors and certainly one of the nicest in the list too.
Happy National Day everyone. Try not to get too caught in the traffic!!
Merrill Lynch list of the world’s 10 least vulnerable economies
Oman has one of the world’s ten least vulnerable economies
Times News Service
Monday, November 17, 2008
MUSCAT — A major boost was given to Oman’s quest for foreign investment inflow at the weekend as the country was named among the least vulnerable economies in the world, according to a report, Global Economics, compiled by a team of experts from Merrill Lynch.
Oman is the only country from the AGCC which makes it to the elite list. Merrill Lynch is one of the world’s leading financial management and advisory companies, providing financial advice and investment banking services.
The report was compiled following several data requests from clients of the investment bank for key risk indicators for all major economies including Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA).
According to the statistics, the world’s 10 least vulnerable economies are Nigeria, Mexico, the Philippines, Colombia, Egypt, Oman, Indonesia, Peru, China and Russia. Also, the report identified Australia, Switzerland, Korea, Romania, Hungary, Sweden, Bulgaria, Euro area, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as the highest risk economies in the world.
The risk ranking was based on seven indicators and they are — current account financing gap, foreign exchange reserves/short-term external debt ratio, private credit-to-Gross Domestic Product (GDP) ratio, and private credit growth, loans to deposits and banks capital-to-assets ratio.
Merrill Lynch said the report also addressed all the requests in 62 indicators of the 60 world economies.
Massive sell-offs in the regional stock markets early this week triggered panic selling on the Muscat Securities Market (MSM) as well.
“The MSM is oversold and the fall is overdone. Oil price crash is the reason behind the negative sentiment in the region. Oil price has fallen below $55 which has led to panic selling in the markets,” said Sunil Dhall, vice-president of Gulf Bader Capital Markets.
“The sentiment was completely negative across the board with all sellers and few buyers,” Dhall said. “Any fall below $50 will see a massive production cut by Opec and that level will be defendant,” he said.
Experts, however, continue to believe that the Omani macro story remains intact and the fundamentals are sound even with oil at the current price.
“We expect foreign inflows to resume once the stock markets worldwide stabilise. This is being witnessed in the stock market today where selective enquiries in stocks like Oman Cables, Voltamp Energy is being witnessed from overseas investors while bargain hunters continue to buy in frontline stocks like BankMuscat and Galfar Engineering,” industry experts say.