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Saturday, 6 June 2015

Growing up | The Economist #Dubai #UAE

Growing up | The Economist:

"TRAVELLERS flying into Dubai often look down and marvel at the man-made islands with the luxury villas. These outlandish creations came to symbolise the emirate’s economic boom in the mid-2000s—and the crisis that followed in 2009, when it needed help to pay its debts, many related to property development. But once on the ground, travellers see signs of a more sustainable prosperity. The airport is bustling—more international travellers use it than any other.

Dubai has bounced back from the crisis, which saw its economy contract by around 2.5% in 2009. It is expected to grow by around 5% this year, as it did last year. The question is whether it has found a more solid underpinning for its growth. There are reasons to worry. Property prices reached a new peak least year (see chart), raising concerns that the market was again overheating. But along with the airport, Dubai’s commercial areas and seaports are also buzzing. These are signs of growth, and also maturity, say analysts.

Dubai long ago used up most of its oil reserves, so the government has for years tried to diversify the economy. While skyscrapers and palaces grabbed headlines, this less glamorous work has slowly paid off: Dubai is now a regional hub in several areas. The airport, which already serves some 70m travellers a year, is set to expand to serve over 200m, eventually. Emirates, the local airline, is world-class. The port at Jebel Ali is by far the busiest in the Middle East, the cargo it handles growing by nearly 12% last year. It is likely to become the biggest container port in the world by 2030."

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Egypt’s new desert capital: metropolis or mirage? -

Egypt’s new desert capital: metropolis or mirage? -

"It may be a harsh and congested city, but the noisy jumble that is Cairo can still offer moments of beauty and pleasure that remind even the most jaded Cairenes of why they love their capital, and why Egyptians call it somewhat grandiloquently Om el Donia or “mother of the world”.

Sailing on a felucca on the broad stretch of Nile in the heart of the city, savouring stillness in the middle of the madness, is one such moment. The European-style buildings of central Cairo may be dilapidated and often obscured by clothes and shoe shops with garish fronts, but they still exude a faded charm, and the observant will see gold mosaic trimming, gargoyles, plaster rosettes, art-deco flutes and art-nouveau wrought-iron flourishes attesting to a time when the architects of the city were Italian and French.

Although there is the option of a speedier journey through the tunnel under Azhar street, I usually choose to drive through the car-choked road between elegant historic mosques and centuries-old markets, dodging pedestrians and quietly cursing pick-up trucks that block the traffic to load up."

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Lay-offs stack up in Dubai’s property broker firms |

Lay-offs stack up in Dubai’s property broker firms |

"There is a sense of crisis sweeping through Dubai’s real estate brokerage firms as some of the smaller ones shut shop and the bigger ones start laying off agents. The concerns could be further exacerbated with the Ramadan and summer breaks looming, which could find more brokers without a job to hold on to.

Matters have not been helped by developers with recent off-plan launches preferring to deal with a single brokerage firm to do the selling. In some cases, developers have let their in-house marketing teams handle the sales aspect as well. 

“The fall in transactional activity has led to many brokerage houses becoming operationally unviable ... in the process, some unscrupulous activities, too, have been exposed causing buyers to suffer losses,” said Sameer Lakhani, Managing Director at Global Capital Partners."

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OPEC agrees to keep pumping as oil glut fears persist | Reuters

OPEC agrees to keep pumping as oil glut fears persist | Reuters:

"Oil group OPEC agreed to stick by its policy of unconstrained output for another six months on Friday, setting aside warnings of a second lurch lower in prices as some members such as Iran look to ramp up exports.

Concluding a meeting with no apparent dissent, Saudi Arabian oil minister Ali al-Naimi said OPEC had rolled over its current output ceiling, renewing support for the shock market treatment it doled out late last year when the world's top supplier said it would no longer cut output to keep prices high.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries will meet again on Dec. 4, Naimi said."

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Iran looks to energy reserves for post-sanctions influence - BBC News

Iran looks to energy reserves for post-sanctions influence - BBC News:

"Iran is a bona fide superpower in global energy markets. Or rather it would be if reserves in the ground were the measuring stick.

Taking oil and gas together, only Russia can boast of greater riches.

The potential to be a major gas exporter, then, is huge - were it not, that is, for the small matter of sanctions."

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