Tip when visiting/moving to Dubai:
It will not be long before you will be able to get excellent hotel price packages in Dubai. Room availability is starting to exceed declining international demand.
Reflections from the week:
Let me start you this week with two pieces of humour that made me smile. One investment banker was heard to say â€˜this credit crunch is worse than divorce. I have lost half my wealth but I still have my wifeâ€™ !! And another poor soul was heard to remark â€˜the bank returned a cheque to me this morning with the statement â€˜insufficient fundsâ€™ written across it. Is it THEM or ME ???Now to work.
Another hectic week. No not for me, for anybody in the global financial markets. Intra-day swings on the Dow Jones of 1,000 points, the FTSE 100 index losing 12% in two days, Irelands second largest bank opening a session with the only â€˜bidâ€™ being a price 99% below its 18 month high. Scary stuff. Then there was Iceland becoming the next Cuba as its loan deal with Russia effectively created a new satellite state. And despite the brilliant and courageous decision by the Irish Government some weeks ago to â€˜shore upâ€™ the Irish banking system, a move that led the way for other governments, this elected civil servants lapsed back into â€˜dumbolandâ€™ with a Budget that was neither brilliant nor worthy of the paper it was written on. A complete lack of brains and inspiration. It will do nothing except cause the â€˜busâ€™ to tip further over the cliff-face.
I fear now for one serious â€˜smashâ€™, with lots more casualties. In the middle of all this is a man who has the most respected investment record on the planet, has said that NOW is the best time to invest in equities. He is thinking of moving ALL his cash/bond investments into equities. At last somebody â€˜speakingâ€™ a script that does not predict the end of the world. I wish CNBC, probably one of the most negatively biased tv stations, would give the â€˜positive thinkersâ€™ some air-space and not deify pallbearerâ€™s like Hugh Hendry â€“ who must have had an upbringing sadly lacking in love.
While there is an evident air of â€˜changeâ€™ in Dubai, the Emirate remains a great place to live and work. Despite the fermenting fumes of fear and confusion, positive resilience is still very much in evidence. Collapses in the equity markets of India, Iran, Russia and the Middle East have had the greatest short-term impact on the market. But market supportive words from Sheikh Mohammad and enormous liquidity injections from the Central Bank has helped calm hair-shedding nerves. I am not sure this is enough but for those of you who believe the fall in the share price is a more damaging phenomenon, fear not. All the UAEâ€™s 2008 budget arithmetic expected an oil price of $75 â€“ not far from the current price and for most of the year it has been above $130. It is advisable however to look towards Abu Dhabi rather than Dubai â€“ as the safer investment option.
Dubai is however benefitting from the problems in the worlds financial industry. An estimated 17,000 cvâ€™s have arrived in the Region. All looking for some solace (and work) from domestic meltdownâ€™s. The banks and insurance companies now find themselves with a rich orchard of choice. And many of these cvâ€™s are being channelled â€˜directâ€™ â€“ without the need for placement or recruitment agents. Another potential income stream blown away with the desert sands.
Dubai was however â€˜brightenedâ€™ this week with the arrival of the â€˜Irish Tenorsâ€™. And of course the enigmatic GP â€“ a perfectly shaped and sculptured human. His words !!! But the Tenors gave a â€˜secret showingâ€™ at my Head Office â€“ the Westin Hotel. Thanks to the negotiating skills and school-kid enthusiasm of Erin, these young men entertained a chosen gathering of Irish and â€˜othersâ€™ for a full hour. Brilliant. All the concerns of the world were forgotten as most of the females in the audience melted into the Tenors magic. One weak-kneed blonde female from Cork (no not you Erin) even confided her desires to me. How stupid was THAT. I mean me keeping a secret has as good a chance as Gordon Brown being given a â€˜French kissâ€™ by Vladimir Putin at the next G7 meeting. So I hope you â€˜scoredâ€™ Aileen. And thanks Erin for organising. I am not sure how Jumeirah â€“ where the Trio were playing later in the week â€“ feel. They could solve the problem however. Just give you a nice fat employment offer !!!
On the subject of employment, the Dubai courts this week issued the highest penalty ever for a Company that had employed illegal workers. 94 of them. And the fine – AED 6.4 million. Oh, plus 2 months in jail for the owner. Proper order. Maybe the government should now throw some â€˜incentivesâ€™ to residents to identify/report other companies who gain an unfair competitive advantage through operating illegally. Now there is an idea. I could make a small (side) fortune out of identifying companies operating illegally in the cleaning company space. Some people do not realise that you NEED a proper operating licence to provide this service. You cannot conveniently â€˜hideâ€™ it within a property company licence. Nor can you â€˜stealâ€™ (or suggest you are a) brands that are not yours !!!
A lets not move away from the subject of theft. The son of Victoria and David Beckhamâ€™s housekeepers has been arrested for trying to sell some items stolen from one of the couples UK houses, on eBay. Seems like the guy should really have been brought to an asylum for appraisal. Did he really think that this theft would not be traced. And what sane person would steal Vicious Vickyâ€™s dresses ? Most 10 year olds, the only body size capable of fitting these garments, on the planet do not get enough pocket money to buy these rags.
Also worthy of note this week was Prince Charles turning down a cameo opportunity to appear in Dr Who. Now what was the programme Director thinking. The Prince has NO option but to decline. Why run the risk of being confused with some strange-looking, wrinkled creatures with big ears from another planet who has no idea how human beings live !!!!
One person who did not hesitate to say â€˜Namâ€™ (yes in Arabic) this week was Jane Fonda. This once-gorgeous looking blonde received a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Middle East International Film Festival. I wonder if any of the judges had seen her semi-naked performance in Barbarella. Or was this (performance) pivotal in their final decision.
Another woman in this weeks news was Jordan. You know the girl/woman known for her Dolly Parton â€˜assetsâ€™ and who feels that clothes are â€˜constrainingâ€™. Well she now wants to take up horse riding. No funny remarks please. Apparently she is quite accomplished at it. Riding horses. She believes she is so good at IT, that she wants to be on the British Team for the 2012 Olympics. Now while I can imagine her in tight white trousers, a skimpy jacket, a tauntingly erotic top hat and the essential whip, I canâ€™t see her in the British Equestrian Team line up. But I guess she thinks otherwise. But I suppose the Selectors may have a different â€˜criteria sheetâ€™ and lets face it, the horse may like her on his/her back !!
I have often spoken about the level of Dubaiâ€™s National Debt. Despite its perceived success and wealth it is getting â€˜knocked aroundâ€™ in the current credit drought. While many Government Officials have reiterated that everything is under control and manageable, that is usually a signal for a banker to call for â€˜a look at the fileâ€™. Watch this space.
Finally did you see that global governments are trying to get us back to fluorescent lighting. You know those ugly â€˜sticksâ€™ that were part of 1950 housing. Despite being more expensive than the current â€˜conventionalâ€™ equivalent, the fluorescent â€˜sisterâ€™ is enormously more â€˜carbon friendlyâ€™. And so all of us are going to have another tax imposed on us by the end of 2010. Now for any entrepreneur out there, the opportunity is obvious. Just â€˜wrapâ€™ these products more attractively and you are on the way to your fortune and probably some global recognition.
Finally finally Evon and myself had two days on an Islamic Finance course this week. And now I have to sit an exam before Christmas. So you see, despite you all thinking that my life here is like a lifetime in bed with Michelle Pfeifer, I am looking for distractions that prove you all wrong.
Read the entire post at itâ€™s original location:
Author: David McGee, Home Thoughts from Dubai