Shorooq al-Fawaz writes about the new Saudi obsession with stock market. Last year, we experienced several IPO’s that raised people’s interest in stock market, leading to what I liked to call The Stock Market Mania. Suddenly, the only thing everybody was talking about is the stock market, and the subject has become the ideal ice-breaker for everyone. When a public service such as the National Railways Organization starts to install huge screens showing MSNBC Arabiya 24/7 in the waiting areas of their stations, I think that we have reached a scary stage.
About half of the Kingdom’s population have participated in the last IPO in 2005, and with 30 new IPO’s expected in this new year, it is hard to see when all this mania will stop. A friend of mine told me that the growth of the stock market is an opportunity that should not be missed. It is the second boom. “Our fathers have missed the oil boom of the ’80s, and someday our children and grandchildren would come and say the we have missed a second boom,” he said.