Dubai banks 'can beat global financial crisis'
Dubai, October 4, 2011
Local banks in Dubai have sufficient liquidity to weather a global downturn, the chairman of the Gulf's largest bank and a key figure in its recovery from a 2009 debt crisis said.
Shaikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, who is also chairman of Dubai's Supreme Fiscal Committee, also said some local firms still had a way to go to rebound from Dubai's debt crunch.
A deepening debt crisis in Europe and a slowdown in the US have increased odds for another global recession this year.
European bank stocks have slumped sharply since July on concerns about their ability to cope with the potential impact of a Greek debt default.
'Local banks have lots of cash and lots of liquidity,' Shaikh Ahmed said.
'We're not directly affected by Europe but I'm sure some foreign banks here could have certain issues. But the world will never be with no crisis.
'Foreign banks will keep supporting the retail business here because it's good for them,' he added.
Shaikh Ahmed, who was named chairman of Emirates NBD in June, oversaw Dubai's bid to restructure $25 billion in debt after it announced a shock standstill in November 2009 and became the business face of Dubai.
'I think the core business of Dubai is doing well,' he said, citing tourism and exports. He is also chairman of Dubai government-owned Emirates airline.
Asked if the worst of Dubai's debt problems were behind the emirate as several Dubai-related entities are still undergoing debt restructuring, he said there was still room to go.
'Some companies have some work to do. 'For example, Dubai World has some more years of restructuring, seven, eight years.'
Dubai World signed a final deal with creditors in March to repay its obligations over five to eight years.-Reuters