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.”


US Energy Secretary discussed Iran sanctions with Iraqi officials

Updated 11 December 2018
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US Energy Secretary discussed Iran sanctions with Iraqi officials

  • Perry spoke at a Baghdad hotel where he was attending a US chamber of commerce event alongside Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban
  • The United States has restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry as well as its banking and transport industry

BAGHDAD: US Energy Secretary Rick Perry said on Tuesday he had discussed his country’s sanctions against Iran with Iraqi energy officials and signalled an intention to step up US private sector investment in Iraq.
Perry spoke at a Baghdad hotel where he was attending a US chamber of commerce event alongside Iraqi Oil Minister Thamer Ghadhban.
The United States has restored sanctions targeting Iran’s oil industry as well as its banking and transport industry.
Baghdad, an ally of both Washington and Tehran, is seeking US approval to allow it to import Iranian gas for its power stations.
Iraqi officials say they need more time to find an alternative source than a 45-day waiver granted to it by the United States.
“Sanctions were mentioned in meetings this morning,” Perry said without providing details.
He added that his attendance was sending a strong message of US commitment to Iraq’s economy and energy sector and that he recognized the challenges faced by Iraq’s government when it comes to rebuilding oil infrastructure destroyed during the war against Daesh militants.
“This is a different administration that will move with speed to develop an energy sector that best serves the citizens of Iraq,” Perry said of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi’s new government.