Monday, October 20, 2008

Dubai - Financial Health

A good article here (by way of Dharm Kapadia) evaluating the concerns and possible ramifications of Dubai's current financial leverage and the US economic crisis. The article states:

"Dubai's biggest risk is its daring reliance on debt to drive its breath-taking building boom. Last week, Moody's estimated that in 2006, the most recent year for figures, Dubai's government and public sector company debt was at least $47 billion, a staggering 103% of Gross Domestic Product. The investment rating agency said it expected Dubai's debt to continue outpacing GDP for another five years, exposing Dubai to pronounced financing and geopolitical risks."

Yet the article goes to conclude in positive terms providing regional insights and a little bit of history of Dubai and Abu Dhabi's relationship:

"An underlying reason for the relative lack of panic so far is that Dubai real estate remains a financial haven for wealthy individuals from riskier nearby countries like Iran and Pakistan. What's more, Dubai's real estate sector is dominated by a handful of major companies — collectively dubbed "Dubai Inc." — that are directly or indirectly owned and controlled by the government. This means, analysts say, that Dubai authorities could effectively stave off a bubble burst by keeping finished projects off line until market conditions improved. In the event of a systemic threat, Dubai can probably rely on super-rich Abu Dhabi for a bailout. "We consider it highly likely that the authorities will step in at some level to support entities that are strategically important for the economy," Moody's analyst Tristan Cooper tells TIME."

UPDATE: The above article on TIME online has sparked exciting and interesting conversations among my friends in Dubai. The insight is that over 90% of the demographic represented by my friends engaged in the discussion (male-70% and female-30%) (1) South Asians, Middle Easterners and North Africans, (2) Are between the ages of 28 and 44, (3) Married (or about to be), (4) Educated in the West (or equivalent Western University in the region) and lived there prior to moving to Dubai, and (5) Have lived in Dubai for over 2 years - (a) Are not planning to leave Dubai, (b) Are happy to see "small timers", "short timers" leave or "Go Dubizzle" (as one person stated), (c) Are confident in Dubai claiming and taking the place of being "The Financial Center" of "Middle Earth" (as one person put it).

I like to suggest ~10% margin of error to the above qualitative analysis to what the individuals actually do.

Could it be that Dubai "may" have created the method of capturing the Knowledge Worker? See my future post on challenge from Qatar in the from of Qatar Foundation, see here.

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