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Page last updated at 09:50 GMT, Tuesday, 21 October 2008 10:50 UK
Financial crisis: World round-up



The Kuwait Stock Exchange, the second largest in the Arab world
Arab bloggers fear the market turmoil will have far-reaching consequences

The global financial crisis and its impact have gripped the Arab blogosphere, particularly in the oil-rich Gulf.

Web logs have even been set up specifically in response to the economic meltdown.

Other bloggers have complained of a lack of transparency by some governments, which have been trying to play down the impact of the downturn on their economies.

SARCASM FROM EGYPTIAN BLOGGER

"It goes without saying that what has happened in the USA has happened in all countries moving within the orbit of the US economy," Al-Masry, an Egyptian blogger, wrote in Maktub blog (http://adkl.maktoobblog.com).

"However, praise be to God, according to the statements of our judicious government and the Egyptian finance minister who had a grin on his face, Egypt has not suffered and will not suffer from this crisis?? Yes, the Egyptian economy is stronger than the US economy and has not been affected by the global crisis!! Would you believe it??" Al-Masry added sarcastically.

In a recent interview broadcast on Saudi TV, Dr Muhammad al-Jasir, deputy governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency, played down the impact of the global financial crisis on the Saudi economy and Saudi financial institutions.

"This is a significant reassurance, although transparency is sometimes unclear, particularly as far as the foreign investments of banks or companies are concerned," Saudi blogger Al-Shihri wrote.

UAE BLOG 'BLOCKED'

A blog has been blocked in the UAE since 12 October for publishing an analysis on the fallout of the crisis on the UAE economy, according to the Beirut-based media news website Menassat.

Mujarrad Insan (Just a human being) is considered to be one of the most influential local blogs that publish articles about political transparency, freedom of expression and the media sector, reports Menassat.

"Laugh with me and say: our economy is intact" was the title of the article in which the blogger concluded: "I do not know how far our economy has been affected by the global crisis. But I know that we lack transparency. I believe that we do not live in an isolated island in this world. For many years, some were bragging about how attractive our market was to foreign investment... We find them now denying any impact for what is happening in the world here."

YEARS OF PAIN, FEARS SAUDI BLOGGER

US taxpayers "would bear the high costs of the failure of stock markets for years to come", Isam al-Zamil, from Saudi Arabia, wrote in his blog (www.essamalzamel.com).

"It will also be paid - though indirectly - from the wealth of the countries that keep dollars in their central banks in huge amounts, mainly the Gulf states and Asian countries, such as China and Japan," Al-Zamil added.

In another Saudi blog (www.m7mmd.com), Muhammad Abdallah al-Shihri wrote: "Our linkage to such economic systems has its toll, which is not easy to pay. This will leave us in the line of fire."

Azmah (Crisis) is the name of a new Gulf-based Arabic-language blog (http://azmah.wordpress.com) created specifically in response to the credit crunch.

The blog, which carries news and analysis from various sources on developments in the crisis, is open to contributions.

BBC Monitoring selects and translates news from radio, television, press, news agencies and the internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages. It is based in Caversham, UK, and has several bureaux abroad.



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