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Friday, 23 October 2009

Video interviews with Jim Murren, CEO MGM Mirage, partner with Dubai in CityCenter, Las Vegas, USA.

Bloomberg interview with Jim Murren, CEO MGM Mirage.

First part of Fox Business interview with Jim Murren, CEO MGM Mirage.

Article narrative here.
Second part of interview Fox Business.

Article narrative here.

Dubai borrowers find welcome abroad - The National Newspaper

Dubai borrowers find welcome abroad - The National Newspaper

The National Newspaper

The National Newspaper

Bonds may be the ticket for airlines - The National Newspaper

Bonds may be the ticket for airlines - The National Newspaper

GCC weekly markets report 22 October 2009 (PDF)

US-UAE nuclear deal to take effect soon-State Dept

The United States and United Arab Emirates are finalizing a landmark nuclear power cooperation agreement now that Congress has given its tacit approval, U.S. officials said on Thursday.

"We are entering into the final stages of efforts to bring the proposed agreement into force," State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told reporters.

The pact, which President Barack Obama approved in May and sent to Congress for a 90-day review period, is potentially worth billions of dollars to General Electric Co (GE.N) and Westinghouse Electric, a subsidiary of Toshiba Corp (6502.T).

Abu Dhabi graphic from FT

Click on image to open larger version.

HOW TO DIVERSIFY A capital that is avoiding many – but not all of Dubai’s errors

“We will learn from Dubai’s mistakes.” Thus spoke one of Abu Dhabi’s leading powerbrokers a few years ago as a new generation came to the fore in the emirate, keen to emulate the success – and avoid the pitfalls – of its brasher neighbour.

In many ways the United Arab Emirates’ capital has done just that. Dubai, built on trade even before the discovery of its modest oil reserves, has in recent decades turned itself into an entrepreneurial hub encompassing tourism, transport, services and finance. But, with its grand ambitions and dependence on debt, it has come somewhat unstuck during the credit crisis. By contrast, Abu Dhabi’s vast oil and investment wealth have given it the luxury of time and greater resources with which to plan.

While Dubai built beach resorts and city h

otels for tourists from Europe, the Gulf and Asia, the capital has foc

used on higher- spending leisure and, later, branches of the Guggenheim and Louvre museums are intended as a testament to that vision. Abu Dhabi has pursued industrial developments, from petrochemicals to steel, to tap into its cheap energy resources; Dubai has focused on services and trade.

But Abu Dhabi is also trying to move into sectors that helped Dubai to transform itself so successfully over the past decade, such as the media. The capital’s new and well funded film festival and art show compete with established events in Dubai – although the jury is out on whether these schemes will flourish in the same way. Finance could also become a pillar of the emirate’s diversification as it launches bespoke buildings in the Sowwah Square development aimed at the banking community. International institutions that set up in Dubai’s financial district are already wondering if they might have to open offices in the capital, which is the source for more business than indebted Dubai.

Yet the UAE capital has failed to avoid two of Dubai’s most obvious problems: clogged traffic and housing shortages. As in Dubai a few years ago, public transport has lagged behind population growth; inhabitants must wait another six years for a metro system.

When they meticulously planned the city’s future – but failed to deliver enough houses and offices to meet demand created by its myriad developments – Abu Dhabi’s new generation of leaders provided an unintended fillip for Dubai’s blighted property market. The area closest to the capital turning into a dormitory for Abu Dhabi workers willing to tolerate a three-hour drive each day for lower rent.
Simeon Kerr

Emirate re-engineered

When Saeed Alromaithi’s friends phoned him at his new place of work, they would often have a chuckle. They could hear the clank of heavy machinery in the background or the roar of a steel plant’s furnaces. “They used to make fun of me when they called and heard all this noise,” says Mr Alromaithi, his blue work jacket and jeans a contrast to the pristine white robe that is the uniform of most of his fellow Emiratis.

Their reaction is not surprising. Since the 1970s, when a spike in oil prices brought wealth to the Gulf, its nationals have gained the reputation for avoiding work that might risk an encounter with sweat or dirt, preferring instead the air-conditioned office suites of, say, a state oil company or sovereign wealth fund. Governments provided social safety nets that hoovered up graduates and dealt out public sector jobs for life.

That is a phenomenon some of the region’s leaders now seem to have grasped is unsustainable as populations swell and they look to a future when oil runs out. The need to diversify economies and develop private sectors has become a common theme.

Dubai’s troubles have just begun

The most obvious long-term effect of the financial crisis is a shift in economic decision-making power from capitals of finance to capitals of politics. We see this trend in the United States, where decisions on how best to value assets and allocate capital are now made in Washington on a scale unthinkable until about this time last year. Outside the United States, nowhere is this development more obvious than in the United Arab Emirates, where power and wealth have shifted at startling speed from Dubai (until recently a financial powerhouse) to Abu Dhabi (the seat of political power). But the American trend is temporary; the UAE's might not be.

Remember when newspapers, magazines, and TV business reports produced feature after feature on lavish investment in Dubai's newest architectural marvel and the corporatist management style of its ruler, Sheikh Mohammed al Maktoum? As foreign investment stopped flowing into Dubai, large-scale infrastructure projects ground to a halt. Thousands of foreigners lost work permits in the construction sector. Thousands more saddled with loans they could no longer repay simply abandoned their property and left the country. By January 2009, local police complained that about 3000 cars had been abandoned at the airport. Dubai found itself buried beneath a mountain of IOUs, and for a few days in February 2009, the financial world lost faith. The emirate's credit rating tanked, and foreign investors began to plan for the once unimaginable risk that Dubai would default on its sovereign debt.

Faced with that, Dubai announced a $20 billion bond program to raise the needed cash. In February 2009, Abu Dhabi moved in with $10 billion bailout, underwritten by the UAE's central bank. So far, Dubai has yet to find the other $10 billion, and Abu Dhabi may have to step in again. But the bursting of Dubai's real estate bubble and the sudden collapse of its economy have already allowed Abu Dhabi's ruling al Nahayan family to buy a big share of the al Maktoum's assets.

Dubai Pitches Its Debt to Wary Investors

This heavily indebted sheikhdom is dipping its toe again into international debt markets, a sign of new confidence among officials here in the Gulf region's economic recovery.

Officials from Dubai's department of finance told investors in Hong Kong on Thursday that they would decide in coming weeks whether to launch a global bond sale, according to two people at the meeting.

The officials have embarked on a roadshow in Europe and Asia, meeting with current and potential investors, which could help them gauge the interest in such a sale.