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Saturday, 13 February 2010

Time to speak up and fight back

Until about 15 months ago, Dubai was the western media’s favourite Middle Eastern “good news” story.

Coverage of the city and its accomplishments during its six-year boom was, for the most part, positive. Dubai’s leaders received pop-star treatment on their travels.

But when Dubai’s economic fortunes flipped in 2008, so did the coverage. Instead of focusing on the Emirate’s failed economic policies, however, some journalists confronted its entire existence. Dubai found itself pilloried on human rights, environment policy, and the tastefulness and social acceptability of its tourism offerings. Writers predicted – even advocated – its demise.

S&P: Another Issuer Defaults In Week, Raises 2010 Tally To 14

One more corporate issuer defaulted this week, raising 2010's total to 14, according to Standard & Poor's Ratings Service, following a record 265 in 2009.

Defaults are persisting, even amid signs the economy is stabilizing, as credit remains tight, especially for junk-rated companies. Last year had the most defaults since S&P began tabulating the data in 1981.

The default by Bahrain-based Gulf Finance House GCS (GFH.BH) was a distressed exchange. Most credit agencies consider such moves, which include swapping debt for less than face value, a default. Many companies don't, however.

Such exchanges were the most common reason for defaults last year, and six in 2010 are for that reason. Missed interest or principal payments and bankruptcy filings are responsible for four defaults each. Ten of the 14 defaults so far are U.S. issuers.END

Bahrain Property Market Experiences Hangover From Years Of Over Speculation

Property sales in Bahrain have virtually dried up and the next two years will see significant challenges for the real estate sector, according to a new report.

The prohibitive cost of mortgages has impacted on the number of real estate sales in 2009 but low transaction activity and ‘inappropriate’ products in the development pipeline could cause real issues in the Gulf state, says the report from international consultants CB Richard Ellis.

‘The rampant land speculation that took hold in 2007 and 2008 has resulted in large areas of Bahrain being effectively locked from development, at least in the short term,’ the report warns.