Sep 24 - 30, 2001
Attack in US may cost Saudi investors $28bn
Saudi investors in the United States may lose up to
$28 billion as a result of the destruction of the World Trade Centre
in New York and the subsequent closure of financial markets in the US,
according to some media reports.
Saudi investors, whose foreign assets are estimated
at $600 billion, are expected to suffer due to the anticipated losses
and turmoil in the global financial markets, specially in the mutual
funds and the insurance sector. Considerable Saudi investments have
been made in these two sectors, analysts here point out.
"Insurance companies have incurred the biggest
loss. The value of Saudi investments in joint funds in the local and
foreign banks is estimated at $35 billion," Saeed Al-Shaikh,
chief economist at the National Commercial Bank was quoted here as
Saudi Deputy Finance Minister, however, ruled out
any major impact of the attacks on the Saudi financial markets. He
reconfirmed that the Saudi riyal pegged against a basket of
currencies, mainly the dollar, has not been affected.
He did not confirm the projected loss of billions
of dollars incurred by the Saudi and the Arab investors in the US
financial markets, saying it would be premature to speak of any figure
for the losses at this stage.
Saudi stocks meanwhile fell 4.3 per cent in the
week to Thursday, affected by the shake-up in the global financial
markets, following Tuesday's attacks on the US installations.
The all-share index published by Bakheet Financial
Advisors (BFA) closed at 2472.56 down from 2582.52 the previous week
and from an all time high of 2605.04 two weeks ago.
Traders say the index, which had been climbing
throughout the year on the back of strong oil prices, fell 3.5 per
cent on Tuesday as local investors off-loaded shares following news of
the attack. The Saudi stock market dropped significantly over the last
few days in harmony with the global stock market decline following the
incidents in the US.
Gulf investors seen leaving funds in West markets
Gulf Arab investors are unlikely to offload huge
assets abroad after last week's attacks in the United States sent
world markets into a tailspin and sparked fears of global recession,
bankers and analysts said on Tuesday.
They said some investors from the oil-rich region
were eyeing bargain US stocks, while others were looking to European
markets, but few were expected to bring their funds back home.
"Gulf investors are not speculators. They are
long-term investors who have seen many economic downturns and
Al-Saleh, general manager of Saudi Investment Bank,
The biggest vote of confidence in the US economy
came on Monday from Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal as US
markets reopened for the first time since the attacks on September 11.
"It would be very foolish and a big blunder to
sell at this time. With deep regret for all that has been going on,
there is a great opportunity to buy," said the prince, whose net
worth is independently estimated at $20 billion.
"Those with a five to 10-year horizon, if they
invest today they will not be sorry," added the prince, famed for
high-profile international investments in media, banks, hotels, autos,
real estate and technology.
As expected, US stock markets plunged on Monday,
with investors shrugging off another interest rate cut by the Federal
Gulf governments and wealthy individuals have
poured much of their investments in the West, particularly US markets.
Economists could not provide an exact estimate for
private Gulf Arab assets abroad, but said they stood at hundreds of
billions of dollars.
"They (Gulf investors) are sophisticated
enough to ride this out and not make panic decisions," a Western
"Some are even toying with the idea of seeing
this as a buying opportunity."
Recipe for disaster
America is preparing for war. And when America goes
to war it has a tendency to drag the entire world with it. As a
wounded superpower, one currently blinded by a lethal combination of
hubris and anger, it feels betrayed and humiliated.
Its "crusade", to use President Bush's
unfortunate choice of word, will be directed against one of the
world's most impoverished countries, Afghanistan, and its most famous
resident, Osama Bin Laden.
American officials are calling it a war against
terror, but even before the launch of the first missile of what would
promise to be an intractable and confusing war it is quickly evolving
into an ideological clash and a religious confrontation--a holy war, a
Never mind that a damning evidence linking Bin
Laden to the World Trade Center and Pentagon bombings is yet to be
found and presented to the world.
Never mind that until now Bin Laden remains a
"primary suspect" and that there are many puzzling and
contradictory reports linked to this horrific affair.
UAE and Kuwait to pull students out of US
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait were
Wednesday preparing to repatriate thousands of their students from the
United States amid reports of growing bigotry towards Muslims over the
terror attacks there last week.
The Dubai government daily Al-Bayan said the
authorities had asked the UAE embassy in Washington to
"coordinate with the cultural center and the American
universities with a view to the return home of Emirati students."
It said the decision had been taken as "a
preventive measure to guarantee the safety of Emirati students
following growing persecution against Arabs and Muslims in the United
Israel's Mossad could be behind US attacks
A Syrian government paper on Wednesday cast doubts
over the involvement of Osama Bin Laden in the September 11 attacks in
the United States, saying Israel's secret service Mossad was a more
"One has to find out who benefits" from
the attacks, Ath-Thawra said, saying this reasoning would lead to
Israel, and not Arabs or Muslims.
The United States has named Bin Laden the
"prime suspect" in the suicide plane attacks against the
World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon outside Washington.
"Why not suspect Mossad of having sought to
shake the United States and the world, upon directives from (Israeli
Prime Minister) Ariel Sharon who wants to divert attention away from
his aggressive plot, and link the attacks to the Arabs, the Muslims,
and Osama Bin Laden", Ath-Thawra said.
"If Osama bin Laden really had at his disposal
such fantastic capabilities, sophisticated electronic talents and a
meticulous organization, as they (the Americans) claim, he would have
directed all that against Israel for the simple reason that it is
closer," the paper argued.
Gulf Arab ministers to meet on US terror attacks
Foreign ministers of the six-nation Gulf
Cooperation Council (GCC) will hold an extraordinary meeting here
Sunday in the aftermath of the terror attacks in the United States,
GCC sources said Wednesday.
The ministers will discuss "ways to coordinate
positions and unify efforts toward the current developments"
following the September 11 suicide attacks in New York and Washington
and the US threat to launch a "crusade" against unspecified
targets, an official at the GCC general secretariat told AFP.
The meeting was called by Bahrain, which currently
holds the GCC presidency.
"Bahrain proposed holding this extraordinary
meeting for talks and coordination on developments of the situation
regionally and internationally," the official GNA news agency
But GCC Secretary General Jamil Al Hujailan ruled
out an extraordinary Gulf summit, the Okaz newspaper said.
Emirates reviewing relations
The United Arab Emirates, one of only three states
to recognize the Taliban government in Afghanistan, is reviewing its
ties with the Taliban following the attacks on the United States, a
UAE official source said on Saturday.
The United States has named Osama bin Laden, who is
sheltered by the Taliban, as a suspect in Tuesday's attacks. We are
reviewing the relationship in view of the present situation," the
UAE source said.
The UAE, along with Pakistan and Saudi Arabia,
recognized the Taliban as Afghanistan's government in 1997 and
maintains low-level diplomatic ties at the charge d'affaires level.
The official said the UAE had fully complied with
sweeping UN Security Council sanctions imposed on Afghanistan in 1999,
including halting direct flights, trade exchanges and receiving
Saudi shares continue drop on US tentions
The Saudi stock market shed a further 2.3 percent
in the week closing Thursday, unnerved by fears of US military action
in retaliation for the September 11 terror attacks in New York and
The NCFEI all-shares index dropped to 2,415.03
points from 2,472.56 points the previous Thursday, Bakheet Financial
Advisors (BFA) reported. But it is still 6.9 percent higher than at
the start of the year.
Three nationals not involved in US attacks
Oman categorically denied Wednesday that three
Omani nationals briefly detained in the Philippines were involved in
the September 11 terror attacks in the United States.
"It has not been proved that the three Omanis,
whose names have not been mentioned by the office of the Philippines
presidency, have a link with the attacks in New York and
Washington," a spokesman said, quoted by the ONA news agency.
"These Omanis have been able to return home
after visiting southeast Asia," the spokesman said, stressing
that "information published by media on the implication of the
three Omanis is completely baseless."
Philippine President Gloria Arroyo's office said
Friday that police had briefly detained three Omanis who filmed the US
embassy on September 8, three days before the deadly attacks on the
World Trade Center and the Pentagon which left thousands dead.
The three Omanis with identified in Manila by the
surname "Al Sheihhi" were questioned by police on why they
were taking video footage of the embassy but were released after their
tapes showed standard tourist scenes.
Israel's Peres hails Arafat declaration of
Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres on Tuesday
hailed the "important declaration" of a ceasefire by
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, a statement issued by his office
"This is an important declaration with
positive elements, including his global commitment for peace and with
explicit instructions for a ceasefire," Peres said in the
"We must once again hail the tone adopted by
Yasser Arafat and we hope this will continue," he said.
Peres said the ceasefire should include an end to
all fighting that started with the Palestinian Intifada (uprising)
against Israeli occupation.
Arafat said earlier he had reiterated his orders,
first issued on Monday, to his security forces to observe a failed
June ceasefire and exercise "maximum self-restraint in the face
of Israeli aggression and attacks, even in self-defense."
Turkey to mount official First Index participation
Turkey is mounting its first official pavilion at
Index 2001 - the Middle East's premier trade event for the furnishing
and interiors industries - with a 17-strong delegation led by the
country's Export Promotion Centre (IGEME).
"The pavilion will cover 522 squre metres and
feature some of the most distinguished furnishing companies within
Turkey," said Fusun Balikgioglu of IGEME.
"We anticipate considerable success as the
Turkish interiors textile industry now has a dominant role in the
worldwide industry, has progressed considerably over the past decade
and meets the high standards of the European market.
"We are well on our way to becoming a world
leader in the furnishings field with the largest industrial park for
production of home textiles and Europe's largest factory for quilt
Oman bourse revamps share listings to boost market
Oman's stock exchange has removed sluggish shares
from the daily-traded segment of its market to help revive investor
confidence, a bourse official said on Sunday.
Ahmed Mukaibil, the bourse`s trading department
director, said the Muscat Securities Market trimmed the number of
companies trading in the active secondary market to 93 from 138 and
transferred 45 firms to the third market, where shares of privately
held companies trade.
"The secondary market from today (Sunday) will
include the most active shares, which have shown healthy profits in
the last three years and good overall financial standing,"
"It is part of the effort to improve trading
in the Muscat Securities Market," he told Reuters.