Arab stock markets lack liquidity — head of Oman’s stock exchange

The Arab stock exchanges suffer from a lack of liquidity as shareholders tend to keep hold of their stocks rather than trading them, Ahmed Saleh Al-Marhoon, the director-general of the Muscat Securities Market, said. (AFP)
Updated 30 October 2018
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Arab stock markets lack liquidity — head of Oman’s stock exchange

  • ‘Furthermore, we have not witnessed in the recent years big IPOs. We need big IPOs’

DUBAI: There should be a more vibrant trading activity among equity markets in the Gulf region to improve their liquidity levels, the director-general of the Muscat Securities Market said in a report by Zawya.
The Arab stock exchanges suffer from a lack of liquidity as shareholders tend to keep hold of their stocks rather than trading them, which leads to lower trading volumes, Ahmed Saleh Al-Marhoon said on the sidelines of the Abu Dhabi-hosted annual conference of the Federation of Euro-Asian Stock Exchanges, particularly noting Muscat’s own experience ‘as well as other markets in the Gulf Cooperation Council and the wider Arab region.
“Furthermore, we have not witnessed in the recent years big IPOs. We need big IPOs,” he said.
Saudi Arabia, the Arab world’s biggest economy, has postponed plans for a flotation for up to 5 percent of state-owned oil firm Saudi Aramco – a deal which could possibly create the most valuable listed company in the world.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in an earlier report, said the flotation of Saudi Aramco would proceed by 2021.
“I believe late 2020, early 2021,” he told Bloomberg in an interview, referring to the timing of the IPO. “The investor will decide the price on the day. I believe it will be above $2 trillion. Because it will be huge.”
The Muscat bourse head also noted that there have also not been any IPOs on primary markets in the UAE – the region’s second-biggest economy – this year.
“Those big IPOs will make these funds and (wealthy) individuals sell portions of what they have in order to buy from the new company, which will make the market more liquid,” Marhoon said. “This problem almost prevails in all Arab countries.”


Former Nissan chairman Ghosn appears in Tokyo court

Updated 15 min 6 sec ago
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Former Nissan chairman Ghosn appears in Tokyo court

  • It is the first of a series of hearings to iron out logistics for Carlos Ghosn’s actual trial
  • Nissan’s former chairman has hired a strong legal team as he fights to clear his name

TOKYO: Nissan’s former chairman, Carlos Ghosn, appeared in a Japanese courtroom Thursday for a hearing ahead of his trial on accusations of financial misconduct.
It was the first of a series of hearings to iron out logistics for Ghosn’s actual trial. The trial date has not been set, and experts say it could be months away.
Ghosn, who led the Japanese automaker for two decades, was arrested in November and charged with underreporting his income and breach of trust. He was released on bail in March, rearrested in April on fresh accusations and then released again on bail on April 25.
Ghosn insists he is innocent and says he was targeted in a “conspiracy” by others at Nissan Motor Co.
Nissan, which is allied with Renault of France, has seen profits nose-dive amid the fallout from Ghosn’s arrest.
Ghosn has hired a strong legal team as he fights to clear his name. One of his top lawyers, Junichiro Hironaka, was seen walking into the courtroom Thursday with Ghosn.
One of the conditions of Ghosn’s release on bail is that he is forbidden to contact his wife. Prosecutors say that’s to prevent evidence tampering.
Ghosn’s lawyers challenged that restriction, saying it is a violation of human rights, but the Supreme Court rejected their appeal Tuesday.
The lawyers can appeal again to have the restriction removed.
In a briefing Thursday, Deputy Chief Prosecutor Shin Kukimoto welcomed the Supreme Court’s decision.
“For married people to be together is important, but I feel there was enough reason for the Supreme Court to support us in this restriction,” he said.
Kukimoto declined comment on the hearing, which was closed to reporters and the public.
Kukimoto also said the maximum penalty upon conviction of all 15 counts of the charges Ghosn is facing is 15 years in prison and a fine of ¥150 million ($1.4 million).