Saturday, March 8, 2008

Omantel filter down, Omani Inflation soars

Omantel filters having problems…
As many of you may know, Omantel's internet filters have been down since Thursday. And as of this post, the big brother filters were still off! So, nows a great time to go to all those previously blocked sites, like:

And any other naughty sites you might be missing. Now is the time to download proxy software, as these sites are always blocked. Go for it!

Update: Just checked the filters again, a few hours after posting this, and they are back up. If it was my fault, apologies. I fail to understand why has been blocked tho.

Government Continues Inaction on Inflation front
As inflation roars ahead in Oman, fuelled by a weak dollar-linked rial and huge growth in both the domestic money supply (more than 35% pa), loans, the housing bubble and big increases in Government spending, the Government decided to hold a press conference to describe the new cunning plan.
The ministerial committee dealing with the impact of price hike has come out with an action plan that includes a number of recommendations and mechanisms for implementation, according to Maqbool bin Ali Sultan, minister of commerce and industry.
Full article in
Times of Oman

Mostly the actions are:
- import fish and restrict fish exports
- subsidise flour
- set up more talk shops about getting more agricultural production within Oman
- soft loans to allow Omanis to buy big boats to catch fish deeper/further offshore
- track inflation

Well, that’s it really. Oh, and ask people to stop spending so much money...
As for consumer awareness on rationalised consumption, the minister said rationalising consumption and changing our consumption patterns would alleviate the price hike.
Yeah, that’s a great policy response. Not. As is trying to talk down prices by pressuring the traders and subsiding basic foodstuffs, as reported today in Times of Oman

None of these actions will actually address the core problems in the economy. These will at best provide a very temporary pause. Step 1 has to be revaluation (or even better a switch to a basket of currencies that would allow interest rates to be increased), and something to boost the economy’s real capacity for domestic production and employment.

Money supply seems to be expanding without heed, and with current oil prices still running at double the basis for the Government’s budget, and no effective policy tools to take money out of the economy, its getting worse, not better. So, expect inflation in Oman to continue to accelerate, as the housing and stock market bubbles continue to grow increasingly out of control. Meanwhile, ordinary people are borrowing to speculate on the stock market and real estate.

Its all going to end in tears…


  1. Well, it was a fun couple of days while it lasted - just like surfing out there in the real world. For the moment, it's some consolation that for some reason some of my favorite sites previously blocked are still available. Perhaps they were retooling the censors or something, leaving us with moderately less ridiculous filtering?

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  3. Good one on inflation...I've also written on inflation and the depreciation of the OMR on the OCB...have a read of that as well.

  4. Hey, thanks AlexOverseas. Email me a few links to the sites that are now unblocked?

    Twister. We need more. The local press seem totally incapable of any analysis, even of a superficial kind. It would be great to get someone like PerYourRequest to do a mini-article on the topic, someone who actually has quite a few brain cells and some expertise.


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