'UAE banks may need more loan write-offs'

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Banks may need to write-off more loans this year, a central bank official said on Tuesday, given the expected rise in non-performing loans.

On Monday, the United Arab Emirate's central bank governor said he expected an increase in bad loans in 2010 to 6.4 percent, from 4.4 percent a year-ago.

Saeed Abdullah Al-Hamiz, senior executive director for banking supervision and examination at the central bank, said such a rise was to be expected in the wake of the global financial crisis.

"It is natural, it is not alarming. Because of the crisis there is a further deterioration in real estate and rents," he said.

When asked how banks would cope with the issue, he said: "They may have to write it off."