Friday, July 2, 2010

Dubai 2010 economic situation

No other country built a ski resort in a desert. No other country constructed an archipelago of 300 artificial islands, complete with a man-made reef colonized by parrot fish.
In the past decade, Dubai has developed a reputation for being the diamond in the desert. All different types of investors placed their bets on Dubai becoming the hottest real estate and tourist destination for the new millennium, only to come up short after the financial crisis. Despite the global economic recession, Dubai somehow maintained a reputation for having some promise for novice investors and misinformed entrepreneurs.

How was this Arab investment mecca capable of holding its name, despite the obvious rules of recession after-shock? The United Arab of Emirates government took measures to protect the potential of recession recovery by instating a “non-disclosure” law, limiting media to keeping reports of the UAE economy more on the glass-half-full biased. Any negative speculations are punishable by law.
But even if Dubai is a gaudy outlier -- a sort of Donald Trump of a nation -- the bankruptcy of its flagship investment company, Dubai World, holds a warning for others. The nonchalance with which global financial markets have reacted is not reassuring in the least. The lack of alarm is alarming.


The UAE Minister for Economy, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri justifies this law by claiming it would be impossible to make any type of accurate forecast based on a country’s economic growth amid a year with such a massive global meltdown. This could be the reason for the unforeseen bankruptcy of Dubai World in November 2009, when they were forced to request a six month delay on the payment of a $26 billion debt.

The UAE perseveres, with a GDP growth rate of 21.9 percent spurred by oil production over the last three years. Could the growth rate be more substantial in the future, despite the price per barrel being the lowest ever in five years, or is the Minister correct to say that predictions are impossible at this point.

Despite the censoring of economic forecasting, experienced investors are still steering clear of the region’s real estate, after the dramatic plummet of property value last year. Investors are redirecting their aspirations into offshore financial instruments such as the top hybrid funds and hedge funds, favouring the Canadian and USA market.

Some of the top hybrid funds include:

Bridgewater Associates – http://www.bwater.com/
D.E. Shaw & Co. - http://www.deshaw.com/
Och-Ziff Capital Management Group - http://www.ozcap.com/
Farallon Capital Management - http://www.faralloncapital.com/
Renaissance Technologies - http://www.renfund.com/
IOTA Global Equity – http://www.iotaglobalequity.com/

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