It's that time again when we get data from the IMF. Worryingly it's my favourite time of the year - the reason being that this is as independant a view as you are going to get on the UAE economy, and while the government's data is pretty sound, you're always worried that it's the marketing machine that is painting a warped picture. And while it's OK to skim the news articles on that key percentage point of growth for 2009, sometimes it's better to read directly from the IMF. And so, if you really care about the UAE, living there, doing business there or considering moving there, download the PDF and read what they say. If you are not numbers inclined get someone to interpret the data for you. What I will pull out for you is this:
Discussions were based on a staff scenario projecting growth to slow to about 3 percent in 2009 on the back of the worsened global outlook, before gradually recovering to around 5 percent during 2010–13.
The short and medium-term outlook is subject to a number of downside risks arising from the difficult global environment as well as domestic financial vulnerabilities in the wake of the recent real estate and credit boom (especially in Dubai). The main risks to the outlook stem from (i) a more severe global weakening; (ii) further tightening of foreign financing for investment projects; (iii) an increase in the demand for domestic financing adding to banks’ stress; (iv) a correction in the real estate market leading to a deterioration of asset quality in financial institutions; (v) a drop in oil prices that constrains the scope for fiscal policy to support growth; and (vi) an unexpected re-emergence of inflationary pressures.
Here are some other real gdp growth rates worth looking at:
There is worry in the air. Can you smell it? Can you actually believe it? Well Wednesday is D-Day:
Dubai-based investment bank Shuaa Capital SHUA.DU said shareholders will meet on Wednesday to decide whether it would continue operations or be dissolved, adding that it has enough equity to carry on.
Can you actually believe that Shuaa has to go through this? Fine it has made a loss, but due process means that it needs to jump through the hoops. They've jumped before, and they'll jump again, but to close - that would be ludicrous and another nail in the coffin in Dubai's
If you are a shareholder and voting, you are no doubt voting for it to remain. Downturns are all about staying in the game, and if you weather the storm, you will be victorious at the other side.
Yes, the latest advice is not to breathe if you are on the beach. The warning came from the head of Dubai’s Marine Environment and Wildlife Section.
He was responding to concern from local media about a “red tide” of potentially harmful algae that has hit the coast of Dubai, leading to the closure of two beaches, including an area near the ultra-luxurious Burj Al Arab hotel. “People are advised not to venture onto these beaches,” said Hassan. “They should make no contact with the water, nor consume the dead fishes that are washed ashore. Care should also be taken not to inhale the air after a wave hits the shoreline. This can prove hazardous to health.”
Don't consume the dead fishes?!?!? Are those the same fishes that have been living with the algae and sewage. The algae must be pretty lethal no?
The algae, identified asCochlodinium polykrikoides, can cause respiratory problems and eye irritation in humans, and is lethal to fish. Similar blooms have plagued the nearby emirate of Fujairah in recent weeks.
Well, if you were prepared to brave the sewage, warning of thie nature about algae must mean that it is pretty hard core.
What a week for Dubai. First the Panorama programme, slumdogs and millionaires, then the article about how to not build Dubai, and then the article in the Independant by Johann Hari. It gained significant exposure:
He did not react to my article by responding to the many criticisms I made of Dubai. He can't. He knows they are true. Instead he wrote a piece for the Independent asking: But what about Britain? He listed many things wrong with Britain - homelessness, detention without trial, the abuse of trafficked workers - and cried: talk about them instead!
And so, that's where it is. Johann Hari has the power to say what he wants, and have his opinion - and isn't that his right? But perhaps not - when he nullfies a nation without balance, it doesn't really sit right.
In a previous article entitled Johann Hari: Why should I respect these oppressive religions? he says:
To the people who demand respect for Muslim culture, I ask: which Muslim culture? Those women's, those children's, this blogger's – or their oppressors'?
All people deserve respect, but not all ideas do. I don't respect the idea that a man was born of a virgin, walked on water and rose from the dead. I don't respect the idea that we should follow a "Prophet" who at the age of 53 had sex with a nine-year old girl, and ordered the murder of whole villages of Jews because they wouldn't follow him.
I don't respect the idea that the West Bank was handed to Jews by God and the Palestinians should be bombed or bullied into surrendering it. I don't respect the idea that we may have lived before as goats, and could live again as woodlice. This is not because of "prejudice" or "ignorance", but because there is no evidence for these claims. They belong to the childhood of our species, and will in time look as preposterous as believing in Zeus or Thor or Baal.
When you demand "respect", you are demanding we lie to you. I have too much real respect for you as a human being to engage in that charade.
But, if you were to think that he was just anti-Islam or anti Dubai, you would be wrong. He appears to be a journalist who sparks controvery, full stop. He once compared Israel to excrement - and if that be the ying to your yang, then so be it. But it is not a case of being anti this or anti that, he's just an opinionator, Unfortunately he has an opinion on everything and wont consider that there is another view on an issue or that there may be a flipside. Either way, he doesn't seem very nice:
The only plus is that, after this furore, Dubai, knows what those who despise Dubai are thinking, and can start to make ammends.