World Economy:
April 6th, 2009 in Breaking News

Dark side of the Dubai dream

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Dark side of the Dubai dream.

It is a place in the sun for over a million of us who holiday there every year. It boasts a host of luxury apartments that has celebrities flocking. But behind the glitz and glamour of Dubai often lies a murky world of exploitation and an immigrant work force living on the breadline.

Hit by the credit crunch, Dubai’s economy has taken a turn for the worse reliant as it is on tourism, financial services and real estate. For those labouring to make the Dubai dream a reality, building the homes for the rich and famous, are facing greater pressures than ever.

But despite the slump, the pressure on would-be buyers is still healthy. A Panorama reporter posing as a potential buyer and kitted out with a secret camera, met with a company endorsed by celebrities. Footballer Michael Owen is a paid ambassador along with England cricketer Freddie Flintoff and golfer Sam Torrance.

A sales representatives from The First Group said now was a great time to buy property. She also allayed any concerns about the wellbeing of the company’s construction workers.

Offering a purchase that would see a £438,000 apartment rise to £1.33m in just 10 years, the sales reps also said they believed the workers were happy to be there.

Dark side of the Dubai dream | FREE PRESS INTERNATIONAL

BBC NEWS | UK | Magazine | Dark side of the Dubai dream


Truth feeder
Dubai Debt Delay Rattles Confidence in Gulf Borrowers

Laura Cochrane and Tal Barak Harif
Bloomberg News
Thursday, November 26, 2009

Nov. 26 (Bloomberg) — Dubai is shaking investor confidence across the Persian Gulf after its proposal to delay debt payments risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since Argentina in 2001.

The cost of protecting government notes from Abu Dhabi to Bahrain rose, extending the steepest increase since February as Dubai World, with $59 billion of liabilities, sought a “standstill” agreement from creditors. Bonds of its property unit, Nakheel PJSC, mature Dec. 14. Dubai contracts climbed 124 basis points to 564, the most since they began trading in January, adding to 122 yesterday, CMA Datavision prices showed.

“There is nothing investors dislike more than this kind of event,” said Norval Loftus, the head of convertible bonds and Islamic debt at Matrix Group Ltd. in London, which manages $2.5 billion of assets including Dubai credits. “The worst-case scenario will of course be involuntary restructuring on the Nakheel security that brings into question the entire nature of the sovereign support for various borrowers in the region.”

Moody’s Investors Service and Standard & Poor’s cut the ratings on state companies yesterday, saying they may consider state-controlled Dubai World’s plan to delay debt payments a default. The sheikhdom, ruled by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, borrowed $80 billion in a four-year construction boom that reduced its reliance on falling oil supplies and created the region’s tourism and financial hub.

Full story here.



Truth feeder
Dubai Balks at Debt Payment, Rattles Global Markets

November 26, 2009

Stock markets in Germany, France, Spain and Italy were all down about 2pc in early afternoon trading as investors retreated from riskier assets. Investors spent the morning digesting the news that Dubai World, the government investment company with $59bn of liabilities, is seeking to delay repayment on much of its debt. Price for European government bonds rose as investors moved money into safer assets.


“Dubai isn’t doing risk appetite any favours at all and the markets remain in a vulnerable state of mind,” Russell Jones, head of fixed-income and currency research at RBC Capital Markets, told Bloomberg. “We’re still in an environment where we’re vulnerable to financial shocks of any sort and this is one of those.”

The credit default swaps, instruments investors use to protect themselves against a borrower defaulting, linked to Dubai’s debt jumped more than 100 basis points to 571. Fears over Dubai’s finances rippled out to a host of other emerging-market assets, including Russia’s Micex stock index and Vietnam’s currency

Read entire article



Truth feeder
Gold price plunges amid Dubai debt fears

This is Money & Reuters
Friday, Nov 27th, 2009

The price of gold tumbled nearly 5% today – its biggest one-day fall in a year – amid a widespread sell-off of assets due to Dubai debt concerns.

Torried trading in Asia, which saw shares in Japan plunge 4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fall 5%, saw commodities come under pressure. The price of oil was down 5%.

Bullion, which hit a new record of $1,195 an ounce yesterday, slumped from around $1,192 at midnight to $1,138 within a couple of hours. By 9.20am, it had recovered to $1,158. Silver, at its worst, was down about 5% while platinum fell 2%.​

Dubai is burdened by £49bn of debts, while government investment company Dubai World is hobbled by £36bn of liabilities. Fears are growing that the City state’s economy may buckle under the weight of these debts, most of which is owed to global banks.

Full article here



Truth feeder
Dollar Increases as Dubai Debt Fallout Spurs Demand for Safety

Bo Nielsen
Friday, Nov 27th, 2009

The dollar rose against the euro and the yen, recouping most of its decline this week versus the European currency, as Dubai’s attempt to delay debt spurred demand for the perceived safety of the U.S. currency.​

The yen fell from a 14-year high against the dollar and reduced gains versus the euro on speculation Japan will intervene after Finance Minister Hirohisa Fujii said he will contact U.S. and European officials about exchange rates if needed. The Bank of Japan checked rates at commercial banks in Tokyo, seen as a type of verbal intervention, Kyodo News Service reported. The dollar reduced gains as European equity markets erased losses.

“It seems the market underestimated the implications of what came out of Dubai and we’ve seen a scramble to close down short-term positions,” said Paul Robson, a currency strategist at Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc in London. “We’re seeing the dollar doing better but the risk sell-off is overdone.”

The euro fell to $1.4919 as of 10:46 a.m. in London, from $1.5019 yesterday and $1.4862 on Nov. 20. The yen fell 0.1 percent to 86.51 per dollar after climbing as high as 84.83, the strongest level since July 1995. The currency appreciated to 129.09 per euro, from 130.03, after reaching 126.91, the highest level since April 29.

Full article here



Truth feeder
Black Friday? Fighting the Bubble One Default at a Time

Marla Singer
Zero Hedge
Friday, Nov 27th, 2009

A brutal risk selloff as Dubai seems to have sparked the “sudden” realization that, you know, stimulus just ain’t going to do it all.

Sovereign CDS spreads have been widening since the news, rescheduled conference calls did little for investor confidence and U.S. equity futures have crashed (midnight ET was exciting!) on the order of 4% with crude futures down 5%.* Treasury futures have spiked in inverted sympathy (flight to safety).* Spot gold, which was as high as $1191 hours ago has sunk to ~$1140, all metals appear to be mimicking the behavior with London Lead down over 8%.* Japan has is expected to intervene following the Yen’s 14 year high mark.* The Swiss National Bank is rumored to be intervening continually to un-defend the Swiss Franc.* Quite a morning so far, and it’s just beginning.




Truth feeder
Dubai...The end?

Well here we go... Dubai's financials woes finally on the mainstream...who's next??

This was forecast a long time ago by various people...all part of the plan!!

Could this be the final push toward financial meltdown and the dollar...

Dubai World's hesitancy to pay off its debt sparks a selloff in Asia.

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- U.S. stocks were set to open lower Friday, following sharp declines in Asian markets, as Dubai World and its debt woes threatened Wall Street's confidence.

Dow Jones industrial average, Nasdaq and S&P 500 futures plummeted, with Dow futures down 222 points, hinting that stocks could take a dive during their abbreviated session on Black Friday.

further reading


Truth feeder
Stocks tumble on fears about Dubai debt fallout

Markets Plunge

TIM PARADIS, AP Business Writer – 25 mins ago
NEW YORK – Stocks tumbled Friday as fear swept world markets that financial trouble in the Middle Eastern city-state of Dubai will upend a global economic recovery.
Major stock indexes fell about 2 percent from 13-month highs, including the Dow Jones industrial average, which at times slid more than 200 points in a shortened trading day.
Trading volume had been expected to be light after the Thanksgiving holiday. Light volume can trigger big swings in markets. Stock markets close three hours early, at 1 p.m. EST. Bond markets close at 2 p.m.
Investors' broad retreat from riskier assets pushed Treasury prices up sharply. The dollar gained against most other major currencies as investors sought safety following steep drops in overseas markets. Commodities prices tumbled.
Investors are worried that a default by a government investment company in Dubai over $60 billion in debt payments could have a ripple effect in world financial markets. The fear is that losses in the small emirate, which has drawn wealthy tourists from around the globe in the past decade with its Las Vegas-in-the-Middle East appeal, could imperil a nascent economic rebound.
Worries about bad debt are fresh in investors' minds after the collapse of the U.S. brokerage Lehman Brothers in September last year pushed the world overnight deeper into recession as banks halted lending on fears of a domino effect of bad loans.
"I think this is a sign of things to come," said Dave Rovelli, managing director of trading at brokerage Canaccord Adams in New York. "Commercial real estate continues to go lower. People are going to continue to default on debt payments."
Investors are being forced to ask whether the troubles in Dubai will usher in a new period of financial instability and put in danger an eight-month rally in the stock market. However, the ability of world markets to digest the troubles in Dubai without widespread panic could also boost investor confidence in the recovery in the financial markets in the past year.
The latest trouble on Wall Street come as the U.S. kicks off the unofficial start to the holiday shopping season. Investors will be tracking news from retailers for insights into how much consumers will spend in the coming month. Consumer spending is the biggest driver of the U.S. economy.
In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 174.35, or 1.7 percent, to $10,290.05. The broader Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 22.58, or 2 percent, to 1,088.05, and the Nasdaq composite index fell 41.77, or 1.9 percent, to $2,134.28.
Energy, materials and financial stocks posted some of the biggest losses as commodities fell and investors worried about bank balance sheets.
Investors rushed into the safety of U.S. government debt. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 3.23 percent from 3.28 percent late Wednesday. The yield on the three-month T-bill, which is considered one of the safest investments, rose to 0.04 percent from 0.03 percent.
The ICE Futures U.S. dollar index, which measures the greenback against a basket of foreign currencies, jumped 0.8 percent. The yen rose to a 14-year high against the dollar.
Commodities, which are priced in dollars, fell as the dollar gained. The move reflected an unwinding of trades that relied on a weak dollar to finance purchases of higher-yielding assets. Spooked traders reversing the so-called "carry trade" were demanding safe-haven assets.
Investors have been pushing into riskier assets for months as they seek higher returns. U.S. interest rates are at record lows, making riskier investments like stocks an enticing alternative to the paltry earnings of safer investments like government debt.
Crude oil fell $3.23 to $74.73 on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Gold fell.
European markets, which fell more than 3 percent Thursday, turned higher after an early slide Friday. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.2 percent, Germany's DAX index rose 0.3 percent and France's CAC-40 advanced 0.5 percent.
In Asia, Japan's Nikkei stock average slid 3.2 percent. Hong Kong's Hang Seng index tumbled 4.8 percent. South Korea's benchmark dropped 4.7 percent.
The worries about Dubai erupted amid a period of relative calm in U.S. markets. The Chicago Board Options Exchange's Volatility Index, known as the market's fear index, jumped more than 4 percent to 24.83. On Wednesday it fell to its lowest level since August 2008. That signaled investors hadn't been worried about big swings in the market.
The historical average of the VIX, as it's known, is 18 to 20. It jumped to a record 89.5 in October last year around the height of the financial crisis.
The latest test of the market comes as major stock indicators had been up by more than 6 percent this month after stalling last month on worries about the economy. The S&P 500 index is up 64.2 percent from a 12-year low in March.
Trading volume in November has been light as many professional investors have pulled back from markets in hopes of locking in the big gains for 2009.
Rovelli said investors have been too quick to assume that the financial markets are on the mend.
"We're way ahead of ourselves in this market. We're in the eye of the storm now and we've been in it since March," he said. "Now we're in the back end of the storm."
Falling stocks outpaced those that rose 15-to-1 on the New York Stock Exchange, where volume came to 162 million shares compared with 91.8 million shares traded at the same point Wednesday.
The Russell 2000 index of smaller companies fell 13.22, or 2.2 percent, to 578.97.



Truth feeder
Dubai Woes May Escalate to ‘Major Sovereign Default,’ BofA Says

Lester Pimentel
Bloomberg News
Friday, November 27, 2009

(Bloomberg) — Dubai’s debt woes may worsen to become a “major sovereign default” that roils developing nations and cuts off capital flows to emerging markets, Bank of America Corp. said.

“One cannot rule out — as a tail risk — a case where this would escalate into a major sovereign default problem, which would then resonate across global emerging markets in the same way that Argentina did in the early 2000s or Russia in the late 1990s,” Bank of America strategists Benoit Anne and Daniel Tenengauzer wrote in a report.

A default would lead to a “sudden stop of capital flows into emerging markets” and be a “major step back” in the recovery from the global financial crisis,’’ they wrote.

Full story here.



Truth feeder
DuBubble DuBurst

Washington’s Blog
Saturday, Nov 28th, 2009

You know about Dubai’s economic crisis. But do you know the background to – and fallout from – the crisis?

A Brief History

Historically, Dubai had an oil-based economy.

But because Dubai’s oil reserves were declining, the government – led by Sheikh Muhammed Al Maktoum – decided to diversify into other areas, especially tourism and commerce. See this and this.

That’s why Dubai built the world’s only 7 star hotel, a series of luxury islands, and the world’s largest tower.

But the global property bubble is bursting.

As I wrote last December:

Housing bubbles are now bursting in China, France, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Eastern Europe, and many other regions.

And the bubble in commercial real estate is also bursting world-wide. See this.

But Dubai got hit the hardest.

As Bloomberg notes:

Dubai suffered the world’s steepest property slump in the global recession, with home prices dropping 50 percent from their 2008 peak, according to Deutsche Bank AG.

As the CBC notes, things went South quickly in Dubai:

Hundreds of billions of dollars worth of building projects were delayed or cancelled. Thousands of jobs disappeared.Dubai, playground of the über-extravagant, suddenly found itself facing the very real possibility that its biggest state-owned company, Dubai World, could go into bankruptcy. It warned it was having trouble making debt payments on $59 billion US — money borrowed to pay for all the excess.

Global Impact

The CBC also notes that Dubai World has holdings worldwide:

Dubai World is Dubai’s main holding and investment enterprise, but its holdings range far beyond the Persian Gulf area …

Another Dubai World holding — DP World — operates Centerm, a container terminal in Vancouver’s inner harbour. DP World acquired the terminal when it bought the marine terminal assets of P&O Ports in 2006, and plans to spend $140 million to expand it.

That purchase also gave it ownership of many key U.S. ports — something that raised national security concerns in the U.S. Some American legislators didn’t like the idea that U.S. ports would be controlled by Middle Eastern state-owned enterprises. DP World subsequently sold its U.S. port assets.

In Britain, another Dubai World subsidiary, Leisurecorp, bought the Turnberry Resort in Scotland in 2008 — home to the 2009 British Open — for more than 50 million pounds.

In the U.S., Dubai World’s investment arm, Istithmar World, bought the luxury retailer Barneys New York in 2007 for almost $1 billion US. There were reports earlier this year it was trying to unload the retailer as the luxury market unwound and Istithmar racked up big losses from the global financial meltdown, but Dubai World’s chair denied it.

In addition, Bloomberg notes that India might be effected by Dubai’s economic problems:

About 4.5 million Indians live and work in the Gulf region and remit more than $10 billion annually, according to government data. The turmoil may affect remittances, said Thomas Issac, finance minister of the southern state of Kerala, which accounted for about a quarter India’s migrant labor in 2005…

Remittances from the Middle East account for about 25 percent of Kerala’s economy, Issac said

The Royal Bank of Scotland is Dubai’s biggest creditor, with $2.3 billion, or 17 percent, of Dubai World loans since January 2007. HSBC, Europe’s biggest bank, has the “largest absolute exposure” in the U.A.E. with $17 billion of loans in 2008

Yves Smith notes that Dubai’s default caught creditors by surprise:

I got a message from someone who was on the conference call [with Dubai government officials]… Some European banks may be on the wrong side of this trade. As readers may know, EuroBanks went into the crisis with even lower capital levels than their US counterparts, and have taken fewer writedowns of their dodgy exposures:

The standstill announcement…was a massive surprise. One could sense the panic in those asking questions….this could be the turning point in spreads and could be viewed similar to the Russian debt crisis in 1998 or the Bear situation in 2007…based on companies and the accents of the people asking questions, it is obvious European institutions will be hit hard…Dubai made this announcement at the beginning of a four day holiday, so there will be little news until next week…There is another wave of pain out there. This information does not seem to be making its way to other markets. It will.

Zero Hedge has a good roundup of statistics regarding the biggest creditors of the United Arab Emirates, of which Dubai is a part:



Of United Arab Emirates (By Origin via Credit Suisse citing Bank for International Settlements):

United Kingdom: $50.2 billion
France: $11.3 billion
Germany: $10.6 billion
United States: $10.6 billion
Japan: $ 9.0 billion
Switzerland: $ 4.6 billion
Netherlands: $ 4.5 billion

Of United Arab Emirates (By Entity via Credit Suisse, citing Emirates Bank Association):

HSBC Bank Middle East Limited: $17.0 billion
Standard Chartered Bank: $ 7.8 billion
Barlays Bank Plc: $ 3.6 billion
ABN-Amro (RBS): $ 2.1 billion
Arab Bank Plc: $ 2.1 billion
Citibank: $ 1.9 billion
Bank of Baroda: $ 1.8 billion
Bank Saderat Iran: $ 1.7 billion
BNP Parabas: $ 1.7 billion
Lloyds: $ 1.6 billion

The Associated Press has additional details.

Bloomberg notes that Dubai’s default might increase risk aversion of investors to emerging markets:

“We’re bound to see a rise in risk aversion,” Arnab Das, the London-based head of market research and strategy at Roubini Global Economics said in an interview. “The Dubai situation signifies that although the major central banks around the world have stabilized the financial system, they can’t make all the excesses simply disappear.”

India’s stocks, currency and bonds fell on concern investors may shy away from riskier emerging market assets over losses stemming from the turmoil in Dubai. India’s benchmark stock index dropped 1.3 percent yesterday, while the rupee lost 0.5 percent.

Zero hedge also notes:

  • UBS speculates that (among other possibilities) $80-90 billion (which is already over 100% of GDP) may be a low figure for Dubai’s debt and that significant “off-balance sheet” amounts might explain the restructuring attempt
  • The Dubai government is on holiday (Eid Al-Adha) until December 6th
  • Abu Dhabi’s Sovereign Wealth Fund (generally thought to command upwards of $500 billion) may have significantly less available. (Rumors of $125 billion in 2008 losses abounded last year). Bloomberg quotes sources to the effect that Abu Dhabi SWF’s AUM has been “overstated, sometimes by as much as 100 percent.”
British prime minister Gordon Brown has indicated how serious the situation is:

“Clearly the restructuring announcement has caused disruption and uncertainty in world markets,” Brown’s spokeswoman Vickie Sheriff told reporters in London. Brown’s “view is that U.K. banks are well capitalized having undergone rigorous stress testing,” she said.

And the Associated Press is asking whether Dubai’s default will cause another financial panic.

The numbers involved are not that great for most creditors – on the order of hundreds of millions of dollars.

But the sense of shock and loss of confidence – when many had optimistically believed that the world economy was out of the woods – could indeed be profound.



Truth feeder
US stocks dive on Dubai financial problems

Saturday, Nov 28th, 2009

US stocks dived Friday as investors confronted the fallout from Dubai’s debt problems that have rocked global markets.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged 183.35 points (1.75 percent) to 10,281.05 at 1500 GMT.

The tech-heavy Nasdaq composite slid 44.40 points (2.04 percent) to 2,131.65 and the broad-market Standard & Poor’s 500 retreated 22.52 points (2.03 percent) to 1,088.11.

“The Dubai debt debacle will dominate trading today, overshadowing news flowing out of the retail sector regarding Black Friday — the first major barometer of holiday consumer spending,” Briefing.com analysts said in a client note.

Full article here



UAE push to head off debts damage(Video)

UAE push to head off debts damage(Video)

By Simeon Kerr and Andrew England, FT.com

November 29, 2009

Watch Video here......

(FT) --
The United Arab Emirates on Sunday stepped in to shore up its banks and head off any potential capital flight as the nation's federal authorities attempted to counter concerns over Dubai's debt problems.

The UAE central bank set up an emergency liquidity facility to ease fears about its banking system, but investors remained nervous about the short-term impact on local markets as regional traders digested the global sell-off caused by the announcement that one of Dubai's flagship entities -- Dubai World -- was seeking a standstill deal with creditors until May.

Because of an Islamic holiday, stock markets in Dubai and Abu Dhabi open on Monday for the first time since Dubai World's shock statement on Wednesday. Some brokers predict that stocks in Dubai and Abu Dhabi will drop to their limits, with banks likely to be particularly hard hit.

The UAE central bank said it would provide lenders with access to fresh liquidity and pledged to stand behind UAE banks and branches of foreign groups. "The central bank stated that the UAE banking system is more sound and liquid than a year ago," a statement said in the first federal response.

Meanwhile, Dubai World is preparing to persuade bondholders of Nakheel, its real estate unit, to roll over that maturity while the government is planning a charm offensive to repair damage caused by a standstill call that followed months of officials downplaying concerns over Dubai's ability to meet obligations on its $80bn (£48bn) debt pile.

UAE authorities were in talks with Dubai officials over the weekend to formulate a response to investor fears and limit damage to the UAE economy.

Nakheel is due to pay $4bn on its Islamic bond next month, while the parent company has total liabilities of $59bn.

Bankers have been waiting to see if Abu Dhabi, the wealthy capital that bankrolls the central bank and is key to Dubai's financial well-being, will intervene. But Abu Dhabi has always insisted that such issues have to be dealt with at a federal level.

Abu Dhabi officials have also said that while they would support all members of the seven-emirate federation, Abu Dhabi would not simply write Dubai a blank cheque.

Reaction to the central bank's statement was mixed.

Marios Maratheftis, Gulf economist at Standard Chartered, said the move was positive, with the central bank acting proactively to send "a signal to banks and the world that they are behind the banks".

Raj Madha, banking analyst at EFG-Hermes, welcomed it as a first step, but said the central bank might have to do more.



Truth feeder
Beijing official urges gold, crude-oil purchases

Chris Oliver
November 30, 2009

China should use the shockwaves created by the Dubai crisis as an opportunity to buy gold and oil, a senior Chinese official who helps oversee some of the nation’s biggest enterprises was quoted as saying Monday.

Ji Xiaonan, chairman of the supervisory board for large firms at State-Owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission (SASAC), said the purchases could be funded by China’s foreign exchange reserves, although it wasn’t clear how much prices for these commodities would be affected by the crisis.

“Though it’s not known how much the Dubai crisis will affect the global and domestic economy, it’s going to at least last for a while, and this may give China an investment opportunity, to use part of its foreign reserves to buy gold and oil reserves,” Ji was cited as saying in a Dow Jones newswire report, which cited comments in the mainland’s state-controlled The Economic Information Daily.

Read entire article



Truth feeder
U.A.E. Removes Sunday London Times From Newsstands

Wall Street Journal
Monday, November 30, 2009

DUBAI — The Sunday London Times newspaper was removed by authorities from shelves in the United Arab Emirates on Sunday amid intensive reporting of Dubai’s debt problems, an executive at the paper said.

The National Media Council ordered the paper blocked by distributors without providing a reason, an executive at the paper in Dubai told Zawya Dow Jones.

The Sunday Times edition available in the U.A.E. on Nov. 29 featured a double-page spread graphic illustrating Dubai’s ruler Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum sinking in a sea of debt. The Times wasn’t given a reason for the block, or a timeframe when it will be lifted, the executive said.

A government official in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the U.A.E., said that the picture of Sheik Mohammed, which accompanied a story entitled: The sinking of Dubai’s dream, was “offensive.”

Under the U.A.E.’s media code, publications are prohibited from criticizing the sheikdom’s rulers. Local media and government officials have criticized international press coverage of Dubai’s debt crisis. Markets around the world fell last week after the government requested a debt standstill for one of its biggest conglomerates.

Full story here.