Riyadh, Asharq Al-Awsat- Saudi government officials sought to reassure anxious investors after the stock market continued to lose value for the third week. Members of Majlis al Shura (consultative council) requested a meeting with Ibrahim al Assaf, Minister of Finance and the National Economy as well as Jamaaz al Suhaimi, the President of the capitals market board, to discuss the stock market crash.
The Tadawul All-Shares Index started its nosedive last month and ended the week on Thursday at 17,924 points, down from a peak of around 20,700 points in February.
Some six million Saudis- roughly a third of the native population of just under 17 million, are involved directly or indirectly in stock-buying. Tens of thousands of expatriates also buy stocks through bank-managed funds.
Dr. Mohammed al Qonaibet, member of the Shura Council and vice president of the Economic Affairs committee said on Sunday that it was necessary to summon the Finance Minister before the council in order to appease the Saudi population about the market’s unjustified losses. Other members unanimously agreed.
Qonaibet indicated that the current stock market freefall was quick and the situation would get worse if no economy or finance officials spoke publicly to reassure investors.
Dr. Abdulrahman al Mushaiqh another member of the Economic Affairs committee supported this suggestion and said the Saudi people needed to be reassured of the health of the Saudi economy, if trust is to return to the stock market.
According to al Mushaiqh, the Saudi people did not need money being pumped into the stock market but statements to reassure them and give them information about the current conditions of the market.
Dr. Abdulaziz al Ariri, also a member of the Economic Affairs committee, revealed he had called for a meeting with al Suhaimy 3 months ago after stocks in companies not worth investing in rose. He had also asked the committee to regulate the Saudi stock market.
The proposed meeting will feature a debate on the tools and mechanisms to support the stock market and ensure mechanisms were in place to prevent an unjustified rise or fall in the mark from occurring again, as well as a discussion of the Ministry’s recommendations and how to punish those responsible for the crisis.