Comment & Analysis

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The UAE: key economic, environmental and socio-political challenges going forward.

This analysis considers 15 challenges that may be faced by the UAE in the period 2012-2020. It considers the extent to which each challenge is (a) ‘reputational’ (b), internal or external and (c), controllable or uncontrollable … read on

What comes after the petrodollar?

America’s over-dependence on foreign credit is no exception to the old adage that too much of a good thing is ultimately bad. It is safe to assume that over the next decade or so, the dollar will depreciate considerably and will no longer be the sole currency used for oil invoicing. Whilst IMF-governed SDRs (special drawing rights) would be the more egalitarian and macro-economically sensible alternative, the more likely is a tripartite reserve and oil invoicing system — dollars for the Americas, euros for Europe and surrounding states and renminbi for much of Asia. [ more… ].

Education, not quotas.

Dubai has something of an unemployment problem, which is strange considering that it is in the midst of an oil-fuelled economic boom and hundreds of foreigners arrive every week seeking employment. It is estimated that while over 90% of the UAE’s workforce are expatriates, there are currently some 35,000 unemployed Emiratis, a four-fold increase from the 8000 registered in 1995. [ more… ].

Sukuk has entered English lexicon and is here to stay.

The Islamic bond – Sukuk – is fast rising in popularity and so lucrative is the potential market that conventional international banks are falling over themselves to set up Islamic-compliant operations. With abundant oil-windfall revenues and a raft of infrastructure mega projects either underway or on the drawing board, the Gulf is fast becoming the logical choice for new and established players alike to set up shop. [ more… ].

US ports deal: A bitter aftertaste.

As a consequence of the furore by the US congress over DP World’s acquisition of several American ports, the Dubai state-owned company decided to avert a long legal battle and agreed to put these assets up for sale. That DP World had already sought and obtained the necessary US regulatory approvals did little to temper the irrational concerns expressed by many American commentators. [ more… ].

Conflict or not, high-priced oil is now a part of life.

On July 7 [2006], even before the sharp rise of tension in the Middle East and the Israeli attacks against Lebanon, the price of oil touched $75.78 in New York, its highest level once you adjust it for inflation since 1980 and the aftermath of the Iranian revolution. One of the most interesting aspects of this latest spike was that nothing in particular provoked it. Although some analysts pointed to recently released data in the United States, showing that it is consuming 1.4 percent more gasoline today than it did a year ago, and others blamed North Korea’s missile tests, there is also a distinct possibility that we are simply entering a new oil price paradigm. [ more… ].

Is oil alone fuelling Gulf Cooperation Council stock markets?

Many of the initial public offerings (IPOs) in 2004 received unprecedented media coverage and were heavily oversubscribed, indicating that the region’s citizens trust their money in stocks and shares. The United Arab Emirate’s Adder Properties IPO was oversubscribed a phenomenal 458 times. In Saudi Arabia, the Ettihad Etisalat stock issue resulted in queues that were so long that traffic was disrupted and application forms were changing hands on an impromptu black market. [ more… ].

The US-Bahrain trade deal exposes GCC chinks

It is logical that some of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, chiefly Saudi Arabia, are not convinced about Bahrain’s decision to sign a free trade agreement (FTA) with the United States. Such has been the opposition to the September pact – which is yet to come into force – that some of them are even urging Manama to back away from the deal and “honor a regional agreement.” [ more… ].

Coverage of research

Government a draw for Emirati women.

Emirati women often prefer careers in the private sector but see government work as more realistic and socially acceptable, according to new research from the UAE University and the Emirates Foundation. [ more… ].

Companies to be rated according to how ‘Emirati-friendly’ they are.

A paper by Ingo Forstenlechner and Emilie Rutledge from UAE University, published in the Middle East Policy Journal last summer, showed Emiratis account for only 4 per cent of the private sector workforce. [ more… ].

Women are ‘underutilised’.

Emirati women generally have more education than Emirati men, but they are less likely than men to find jobs, according to a recent study. [ more… ].