Saudi Arabia Bans Demonstrations As Its Plunge Protection Team Sends Stocks Surging

Tyler Durden's picture

Proving that Saudi Arabia is a fast learner from both China's and America's experience, today Saudi's interior minister announced he is banning all protests, marches and strikes following the world's realization courtesy of the clip posted on Zero Hedge yesterday, showing that not all is well in the kingdom in which protests are banned. Dow Jones reports: "Top oil exporter Saudi Arabia has banned all protests, marches and strikes in the kingdom after small protests continued over the weekend in the oil-rich Eastern province towns of al-Ahsa and Qatif, interior ministry said Saturday, according to state-owned channel al Ekhbariyah.  These activities don't conform with the Islamic laws and harm the interests of the nation and the society, the Saudi channel quoted the ministry as saying." What does, however, comply with Islamic law is openly using your plunge protection team to bid up the market: "Saudi stocks rose for the first time in three weeks, rallying the most in more than two years, after the finance minister said the Arab world’s largest economy is benefitting from higher oil prices and in “excellent” shape... The state-run General Organization for Social Insurance also purchased stocks, according to Ajeej Capital’s Fuad Aghabi." Not letting a crisis go to waste, Saudi has quickly learned Econ 101 and is now advising its citizens that America's massive economic contraction is its personal gain. And if that doesn't work, it will just use its pension fund to bid up stocks, as a massively Marked to Myth market is apparently in everyone's interest: just ask the Chairsatan.

More on the demonstration ban from Dow Jones:

[The interior ministry] said any attempt to cause public disorder will be prevented by security forces.

Saudi Arabia's authorities on Thursday night detained 22 people in Qatif, the main Shi'ite town in the Eastern Province, after they staged a demonstration demanding the release of prisoners they say are being held without trial.

"About 200 people took to the streets in Qatif on Thursday night. The protests were peaceful, but still the authorities interfered, they tried to stop them and arrested 22 people," according to Human Rights First, an independent human rights group.

Look for a kind but firm request for all foreign journalists to depart the country next week ahead of the planned days of rage, as Saudi confirms it had also learned from the USSR in dealing with social discontent.

And while Saudi Arabia is now openly using its pension fund to bid up stocks, thereby setting its own Plunge Protection Team loose to stabilize the market, this time learning from the US, we wonder just how widely the same scheme has been used in the US, as various pension funds receive a command from the New York Fed to do just that... or else mutual assured destruction. Not only that, but Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf pulled an Obama, and told the general population "stocks are attractive now, the economy is in “excellent” shape" and that "with my trust in this economy and this country, I also
seized the opportunity” and bought shares, Finance Minister Al
Assaf said. “I am a long term investor." Poor guy doesn't realize nobody is a long-term investor any more, especially not the GETCOs of the world, whose only job is to stabilize the market from plunging (alas, it didn't work too well for GM).

From Bloomberg:

Saudi stocks rose for the first time in three weeks, rallying the most in more than two years, after the finance minister said the Arab world’s largest economy is benefitting from higher oil prices and in “excellent” shape.

The rise in oil prices will boost the “strong condition” of the kingdom, Finance Minister Ibrahim al-Assaf told Al Arabiya TV. Stock prices in Saudi Arabia, which holds about 20 percent of the world’s proven oil reserves, are attractive now and the Saudi Public Pension Agency bought shares last week, he said. The state-run General Organization for Social Insurance also purchased stocks, according to Ajeej Capital’s Fuad Aghabi.

“Assaf’s comments have had the biggest impact on the market,” said Aghabi, Ajeej Capital’s investment director in Riyadh.

Stocks tumbled across the region last week, sending the Bloomberg GCC 200 Index of Persian Gulf shares to the lowest level since 2009 and propelling the Saudi benchmark down the most in two years, on concern the turmoil in Libya will spread through the Middle East.

“With my trust in this economy and this country, I also seized the opportunity” and bought shares, Finance Minister Al Assaf said. “I am a long term investor.”

Stocks are “attractively valued and the moves by government agencies signal continued confidence,” said Asim Bukhtiar, an equity analyst at Riyad Capital in Riyadh.

How much this latest bout of totalitarian market control (so welcome by market overlords such as Larry Fink) and centrallized planning calms people ahead of next week's days of rage is unknown.  After all Saudi Arabia is quite a few months behind in spinning the "wealth effect" to its citizenry.