Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

People and the Stock Market | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Perhaps these are some of the most difficult days in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates. People are angry because of their losses in the stock market. They have seen their investments lose value and some are on the road to ruin. The law says the market governs itself and those who buy and sell shares have to accept its results. The situation is similar when the market falls. The Japanese bourse is still recovering from the 1990 crash. The US Nasdaq index known for its technology stocks also crashed after much speculation and after reaching its peak. Nasdaq’s story is similar to that of the Arab stock markets that grew and grew until it exploded. The main difference however, is that unsuccessful investors of the international stock market would blame themselves and even commit suicide but Arabs drive their governments towards suicide and burden the state with their losses. In my opinion, these kinds of investors would not be satisfied unless governments compensate for their financial losses and even their profits on top of that.

One year ago, I heard an official in the stock market express his fears about a crash in the market that may lead to numerous cases of suicide. He added that when precautionary steps were taken to curb the rising rates in the stock market to restrain a crash, investors criticized them severely. Experts had recommended that the stock market be left alone to rectify itself. In addition, the state prohibits any intervention in the operating of the stock market and international treaties insist upon the liberation and autonomy of the stock market. Despite all this, the obsession with making profit is stronger and investors forget that the stock market involves both profit and loss.

There are straying flocks in our markets whilst in their market there are institutions. These straying flocks represent the number of investors who blindly follow what they hear, however, in the global and mature markets of the world, investors entrust their capital in institutions that could better serve their interests. The straying flocks are led towards disaster through their hasty decisions and actions to achieve profit. Again, in international stock markets, financial institutions make the correct decisions and guide investors away from risky choices. Accordingly, these institutions will lessen the potential of financial losses and protect investors from falling into the trap of the local fraudsters who roam freely in our markets. Despite the pessimistic atmosphere that has overwhelmed the Arab stock markets, these markets still experience success since the first oil boom. The vast oil revenues that walk hand in hand with local economic development will not abandon the stock market at this critical stage. In fact, it will assist the stock market so that it can flourish further, however basic trust needs more time to be established. Reform should take place not only for our stock markets but also for the economy and for the minds of those who invest.