Tag Archives: Abu Dhabi

Dear Uncle Abu Dhabi, can I borrow a *bit* more cash? Pls thx, Dubai.

Abu Dhabi has already injected 10 billion US dollars several months ago, and bought significant entities such as Emirates Airlines amongst others.

My guess is Dubai has been trying to get more assistance from Abu Dhabi unsuccessfully, and has made this move in a final attempt to get AD to cough up.

But will it cough up enough to manage the debt of between 80 and 150 billion US dollars (depending on who you ask that is Dubai’s total debt)?

Here are a few articles from CNN today on the breaking news.  Will be *interesting* to see what happens to the Dubai Stock Market when it reopens on Sunday.

Has debt freeze exposed Dubai mirage?

November 26, 2009 — Updated 1537 GMT (2337 HKT)

Dubai: Local moves, global implications

November 26, 2009 — Posted: 1352 GMT

Dubai shocks investors amid debt fears

By Simeon Kerr and Jennifer Hughes, FT.com
November 26, 2009 — Updated 1352 GMT (2152 HKT)

Investor confidence in Dubai, exemplified by its stunning architecture, has been shaken.



  • The size of Dubai World’s $22bn debt problem has been apparent for a year
  • Bond markets reacted sharply to the news, investors demanded higher premiums
  • BNP analyst: “Investors view this as shockingly bad news”
  • Moody’s cut ratings on some government-related entities to junk status

(Financial Times) — Dubai has shocked investors by asking for a debt standstill at Dubai World, the government’s flagship holding company that has developed some of the world’s most extravagant real estate projects.

The move raised the spectre of default in the Middle East’s trading hub just as early signs of economic recovery have emerged. During the boom, Dubai rode the wave of easy credit generating phenomenal economic growth but was badly hit by the global credit crisis.

Dubai’s surprise move angered some investors who had been reassured by local officials for months that the city would meet all obligations on its $80bn (£48bn) of gross debt in spite of recession and a real estate crash.

“Investors view this as shockingly bad news,” said Rob Whichello of BNP Paribas. Two hours after announcing it had raised $5bn from two Abu Dhabi banks, the department of finance asked for a standstill until May 30 on all financing to the heavily indebted Dubai World and its troubled property unit Nakheel, which is due to pay back $4bn on an Islamic bond on December 14.

This will destroy confidence in Dubai,
the whole process has been so opaque and unfair to investors.

–Eckart Woertz

Dubai also launched a restructuring of the government holding company, which oversees ports operator DP World, the UK-based P&O Ferries and troubled investment company Istithmar. Nakheel, the developer behind the city’s Palm Islands that boast celebrity owners such as David Beckham, has had to shed thousands of staff and left contractors out of pocket as local property prices halved and credit dried up.

A symbol of Dubai’s pre-crunch excess, the government company has had to cancel plans for the world’s tallest tower and a constellation of reclaimed islands, as collapsing cash flow left the developer on the brink.

The government’s announcement came after the local stock market had shut and on the eve of the Eid holidays, during which most offices will be shut until December 6.

“This will destroy confidence in Dubai, the whole process has been so opaque and unfair to investors,” said Eckart Woertz, economist with Dubai’s Gulf Research Centre.

A spokeswoman for the department of finance said the government intended to ask all bondholders to extend until May. But the government said no decision had yet been made on how to deal with investors insisting on repayment in December.

The gaping size of Dubai World’s $22bn debt problem has been apparent for a year. But the government’s level of support has been clouded by politics and a lack of clarity on how much it could raise from international markets and the oil-rich capital of the United Arab Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

Bond markets reacted sharply to the news with investors demanding higher premiums to hold debt from the region. In London trade it cost about $460,000 annually over five years to insure $10m worth of Dubai government debt against default, compared with $360,000 on Tuesday. Prices rose for its neighbours with Abu Dhabi protection $100,000 more than on Tuesday.

Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s Investors Service immediately downgraded the ratings of all six government-related issuers in Dubai following news of the repayment delay and left them on review for possible further downgrade.

Moody’s cut ratings on some government-related entities to junk status, while S&P cut ratings on some entities to one level above junk.

S&P said the restructuring “may be considered a default under our default criteria, and represents the failure of the Dubai government (not rated) to provide timely financial support to a core government-related entity.”


Abu Dhabi Grand Prix

It’s Grand Prix weekend in Abu Dhabi and even Dubai is packed with people.  We have a friend from South Africa staying with us, who is here to see the race.

Saw a line of about 30 Ferrari’s outside the Dubai Ferrari dealer…

Zebra Crossing Failures in Dubai

There was an article in the Gulf News recently talking about the RTA wanting more pedestrian crossings.

What the comments (see below) on the article highlight is that these crossings are failing to provide the safe passage that was intended.

Note the occasional comment from irate drivers who believe that pedestrians should not have right of way. Ugh!

RTA – Please provide some driver education on this matter urgently!

Police calls for more pedestrian crossings

By Alia Al Theeb, Staff Reporter
Published: May 06, 2007


Your comments

This is what happens in most emirates in the UAE, hardly any motorists stop for people who want to cross at the zebra crossing and then they are forced to go into heavy car traffic.

The planned 17 pedestrian bridges is good news, but I reckon more is needed. The focus should be to remove pedestrians from the streets, not by preventing them but rather giving them separate access. Cost may be an issue, but can be minimized if we get back to basics.
M. S.

Whilst more pedestrian crossings may help, educating people is also needed. On a daily basis people will cross the road in front of me regardless of oncoming traffic, even when there is a pedestrian crossing only three metres away. Teaching pedestrians that they don’t rule the road is a must.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

It is a move in the right direction, but how about installing traffic lights at pedestrian crossings, because lets face it, half the people on the roads do not even care to stop at these crossings. Education plus stricter enforcement is also required.

I think the authorities should enforce strict laws for the pedestrians also, not just for motorists because many accidents are also caused due to fault of the pedestrian rather than the motorist. Even pedestrians have a very important role to play here.

Pedestrians are very callous because of the law that states they have the right of way. Pedestrians should be held equally responsible for causing the accident. Being a driver myself, I find it shocking to see people running across 10-12 lane highways. A driver cannot anticipate someone would be so foolhardy. Even on the streets of Dubai pedestrians cross or stand defiant in front of oncoming cars.

I think all the emirates should do the survey of the roads and find the places where the crossing of pedestrian is the most. According to the survey they should make controlled pedestrian crossing with the signals. I have also experienced that many drivers in UAE think that Zebra crossing does not give any priority for the pedestrians which is wrong. For this a traffic drive should be started by the transport authority to make the drivers aware that it?s their duty to give way to the pedestrians on the zebra crossing. Also heavy fines should be imposed on drivers not abiding by this rule, and it should be considered as a serious driving offense.
Ras Al Khaimah,UAE

I agree that most deaths are caused by people being run over at pedestrian crossings. Last week I was in Dubai near the abra pedestrian crossing there is only a white line on the road but there is no pedestrian crossing signal to show whether pedestrian can cross the road or not. It is a very busy road with people crossing the road to take the boat to go to Bur Dubai. There is a subway crossing there. The authority should close the zebra crossing or provide pedestrian crossing facilities with signals so that illiterate people can see the sign and cross safely.

I had crossed busy roads several times and sometimes I have escaped narrowly from accident. Sometime I had spent more than 1 hour to cross the road all this because of lack of pedestrian crossing at the right places. Especially, we need more underpasses on Sheikh Zayed Road.

It is good thinking on the part of RTA to build pedestrian crossings. But, according to me, building subways for pedestrains is far better than overbridges because it will be easily accessible and more user-friendly. Some of the current overbridges are not easily accessible and thus, some pedestrains are wary of using them.

We have pedestrian crossings in Abu Dhabi but no cars, especially taxis, will slow down when people are ready to cross the road.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

I agree that we need more pedestrian crossings. One place is at Bur Dubai main junction of roads from Sindagha tunnel, Bank street, Bur Dubai bus stand.
R. K.
Colombo,Sri Lanka

The biggest challenge is in educating drivers to stop at pedestrian crossings. I once stopped at a pedestrian crossing when I saw a person waiting to cross the road – it nearly caused a huge accident behind me and created extreme aggression from motorists who hooted and gesticulated angrily. Drivers here give no right of way to pedestrians, unlike Europe, South Africa and USA where the pedestrian comes first.
T. R.

I would suggest that some young policemen be deputed along the major pedestrian crossings for eg. schools, shopping malls, residential areas, to control this issue.
Al Ain,UAE

What is the point of introducing pedestrian crossings when they don’t exist to most drivers in this country, especially taxis. I have never seen a car stop at a pedestrian crossing unless there was a signal and if I stop the others always honk continuously.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

The immediate step to be taken to curb pedestrian death is to build speed breakers where there is a zebra crossing. (Ed: Good idea!) All vehicles, especially taxis are running at high speed in these areas putting pedestrians lives at risk. Secondly, instead of erecting fence along the divider, it should be a concrete wall with a minimum height of 4 feet on top of which there should be sharp metallic grills so that the pedestrians can be prevented from removing the fence manually. This will eventually be a permanent structure too so long as people do not attempt to break the wall which is not an easy task. The pedestrian under passes will be fully utilised if such arrangements are made. Now few people use the pedestrian underpasses which were constructed paying huge amount and is found to be literally empty.
K. R.
Abu Dhabi,UAE

I agree that more pedestrian crossings and speedbreakers are needed to control errant drivers. I have been saved many times on Naif Road pedestrian crossing as drivers ignore the sign and do not allow one to cross, especially during the hot summer days!

This is a nice move. The main problem is that no one has the sense to stop the car when people are crossing the zebra crossing. They have to wait until there is no approaching car to use this privilege. I suggest that there should be a speed breaker before all pedestian crsossings so that cars are forced to slow down reasonably and let the people cross the road. (Ed: Good suggestion!) Tthere is a pedestrian crossing wthout stop light at Hyatt Regency roundabout, which is the most dangerous to cross as cars come so fast after the traffic light is green. They cannot stop and I have never seen anyone stopping at the pedestian crossing. This must be checked.

More crossings is not enough to solve this problem. Many drivers still don’t respect the right of the pedestrians and do not have the courtesy to stop at the crossings. What are they going to do about this?
S. Al K.
Al Ain,UAE

Traffic Conditions

While I sit car-free in the gentle streets of Kirribilli (Sydney) which are presently lined with purple Jacaranda trees and Schiaparelli-pink Bouganvillias, Richard is learning to navigate traffic in the UAE.

For a period of a few months it seems he will be working full-time on client site in Abu Dhabi. This is one and half hours drive away from Dubai. Not that far by European standards, but REALLY far by our newly-adopted Sydney standards; where we don’t have a car at all and walk or take the train a few stops to work.

It’s worth nothing that this 1.5 hour drive is calculated for cars going at speeds of between 130 and 160km per hour. His first note on the subject was this:


The traffic is fast and uses no indicators. The average speed on the Dubai side is 130Km/h and on the Abu Dhabi side it is 150Km/h.

I then asked him if speed limits existed in theory to which I received this reply:

Speed Limits
There are speed cameras. On the Dubai side they occur very regularly, every 2kms I think. They are set at 130 or 140 km/h before they take your photo. On the Abu Dhabi side they are set at 160 km/h. Also, my little Peugeot hire car constantly beeps once it hits 120 km/h which is very annoying when you are trying to follow a colleague in another car all the way to Abu Dhabi.

Speeding Fines

When you renew your registration you have to pay all speeding fines. So if you are very rich you just pay.

So it appears IF there is a demerit point system it is very liberally applied. Much the same as in the Netherlands. Except that traffic in the UAE quite a bit faster and does not use indicators.

Here is a link to a description of a 200 car pileup on the same stretch of road. Charming. http://www.gulfnews.com/nation/traffic_and_transport/10196797.html

Car pile up in UAE.

Car pile up in UAE.

A sense of humour and lack of fear in these things goes a long way to being able to operate in confronting situations like this. That said, I’m wondering it its too early for me to place my order for a German car with a five- star crash pod…

The speed cameras have a range of error of approximately 20km per hour. The speed limit in Dubai is 140km per hour and in Abu Dhabi, 160km per hour. The end result is that the perceived speed limit is 160km per hour in Dubai and 180km per hour in Abu Dhabi. (This gets interesting when people hit the occasional unsigned speed hump in the middle of the freeway.)