Experience the Real Panic in Persian Gulf Slowdown

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Oct 29 2008
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Prince of Persia was one of my favorites and I was so addicted to the DOS-game that I used to sleep four to five hours daily in order to complete the adventure. It was many years ago and the game which was developed by a teenager was superb. The fact that the game did not allow you to save meant I’ve to literally switch on the personal computer for God know how many days. The first personal computer that I owned was a 386 (although 286 was still available) that comes with 240MB of hard-disk, if my old memory still serves me right, and if I press the turbo button the clock will speed up to 66 Megahertz. It was the top range back then and most of my friends envy my machine *grin*. Of course there’s also this simple stock market game that randomly flashed on the screen if you’ve made great fortune or went bankrupt the next trading morning.

Needless to say nowadays I seldom have the time to play computer games and I still have many PS2 games bought but never have the time to enjoy it. Surprisingly I don’t find many stock market games today. I suppose with the internet technology it would be silly to play such games when you can trade with real money on actual stock markets. Dow Jones is rather boring today as everyone is waiting for the afternoon announcement from Ben Bernanke on the interest rate cut. Feds do not really have much choice but to cut it further lest it wants to see another huge plunge. Furthermore the almost 900 points jump Tuesday was mainly due to anticipation that Feds will cut the rate by either 50 or 100 basis points. China had just cut its interest rate to 6.66% from 6.93% while Norway’s cut was 50 basis points to 4.75%. The European Central Bank (ECB), Bank of England and Bank of Japan may follow soon.

Persian Stock Markets TumbleI can’t remember the last time the customers got panicked and invaded banks for their money deposited with the banks. It must be a wonderful sight to see the Kuwait’s second-biggest lender struggling to meet the customers’ demand of withdrawals at Gulf Bank KSC (KUW: GBK). The fear factor is moving its way into the Middle East. Stock traders in the Persian Gulf were having good time when the bull was charging on the dessert for a while and it appeared the stocks were invincible and could only go up. Their backyard was filled with black gold which was fetching $148 a barrel. High oil prices have allowed state and private investors (or rather speculators) across the Gulf to funnel billions of dollars into property markets, infrastructure projects and, foreign-exchange speculation. Nobody expect the oil would plunge by 50% from their July highs. Gulf states have different break-even oil price – Saudi Arabia is $49 a barrel, Bahrain is $75 a barrel and Kuwait requires $33 a barrel but as long as global oil prices are above $55 a barrel, the governments are happy. But it was currency trades and not bad loans that plunged Kuwait into a banking bailout after Gulf Bank incurred losses of about 200 dinars ($746 million).

AAPL ProfitMiddle East is a self-sufficient territory although you (if you’re a foreigner) would cry for home if you were to stay in Dubai for more than a month. Even if you can cook finding the raw materials such as veggies and eggs known to you would be a big problem. Egypt receives $3 billion in annual remittance from its 2-million citizens working in the Persian Gulf while Jordan receives $2 billion annually. It would be interesting to see if Dubai’s overheated real estate market will have a soft landing instead of a crash. Anyway, I’m not going to wait for the Feds announcement on the interest rate cut because it would be very volatile thereafter. Instead I decided to take small profit scalping Apple Inc.’s AAPL Nov 100 Call Option during the morning trading session today.

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