Dubai's debt shakes world markets
Thursday 26 November 2009
Debt-swamped Dubai today asked for a six-month reprieve on paying its bills, causing a drop on world markets.
The fallout came swiftly after yesterday's statement that Dubai's main development engine, Dubai World, would ask creditors for a "standstill" on paying back its 60 billion dollar debt until at least May.
The company's property arm, Nakheel - whose projects include the palm-shaped island in the Gulf - shoulders the bulk of money due to banks, investment houses and outside development contractors.
In total, the state-backed networks nicknamed Dubai Inc. are 80 billion dollars in the red and the emirate needed a bailout earlier this year from its oil-rich neighbour Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates.
Markets took the news badly - with the Dubai woes and the continued fall of the US dollar giving investors twin worries.
Dubai became the Gulf's biggest credit crunch victim a year ago. But its ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, had continually dismissed concerns over the city-state's liquidity and claims it overreached during the good times.
When asked about the debt, he confidently assured reporters in a rare meeting two months ago that "we are all right" and "we are not worried," leaving details of a recovery plan - if such a plan exists - to everyone's guess.
Then, earlier this month, he told Dubai's critics to "shut up."
After months of denial that the economic downturn even touched it, the Dubai government earlier this year showed signs of trying to deal with the financial fallout that has halted dozens of projects and prompted an exodus of expatriate workers.
Last week, Sheik Mohammed demoted several prominent members of Dubai's corporate elite and replaced them with members of the ruling family, including his two sons, one of whom is his designated heir.
Businessmen who fell out of favour were closely associated with Dubai's phenomenal success. They include the head of Dubai World, Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, and Mohammed Alabbar, the chief of Emaar Properties, developer of the Burj Dubai and hundreds of other projects.
Bill Clinton portrait features Monica Lewinsky reference, artist admits
Japanese island overrun with cats after population explodes
Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
Pornhub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 Licence fee: What is the BBC charge – and how will the changes affect you?
- 3 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 4 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 5 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
£16000 - £46000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join ...
£9 - £13 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity to join a s...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Have you got a proven track rec...
£15000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...