A construction consultant argues that the emirate is the best place to sit out the global downturn
Many people don't notice the incredible growth that Dubai went through during the past few years, and only focus on the doom and gloom of the last four months. I think doom is becoming boring news, and not the whole story.
A good example is my friend who bought a house on the Palm island – he bought two units at 3m dirhams each a few years back, then sold one for 14m dirhams a few months ago. The second one has “crashed” to a value of 6m-7m dirhams – but this is still an incredible 100%-plus return on property in four years!
There are few structural economic/fundamental problems compared with the US - which has issues on social security, national debt, the US dollar, the car industry…
But unfortunately all you hear about in the news is the downturn, not the fact that Dubai is far better off today than 10 years go. Furthermore, there are few structural economic/fundamental problems in the region, compared with, say, the US – which has issues on social security, national debt, the US dollar, the car industry, to name but some.
It stands out from the hundreds of cities out there that are trying to become knowledge economies or financial centres but have not yet much to offer. You can't beat the infrastructure that Dubai has already built – even Singapore's is getting rather old by comparison.
I wonder if the cash-rich Gulf countries, which are net creditors to the rest of the world, are not the best place on the planet to be right now?
The fact is that lots of foreign counties are understandably jealous and are now trying to eat Dubai's lunch by bad-mouthing its economy. I think the economics are still very sound, but confidence needs to be raised. Dubai remains the central hub to do business in the Middle East and North Africa region, including to a certain extent India, Pakistan, Iran and the former Soviet countries (excluding Russia and Ukraine, but definitely all the “-stan” countries out there). Emirates Airlines flies direct to all these destinations, connecting Dubai to the billion-plus people immediately surrounding it.
Doing a quick Google news search, it is sad seeing so many articles based on pure rumours of cars being left at airports and visas cancelled – these articles are not based on fact and, when comparatively America, Europe and parts of Asia are doing far, far worse, they are mysteriously overly harsh, with ridicule in their tone.
I for one seriously question the Indian and Chinese GDP growth rates of 7% – I have personally seen many companies shut down in China in the field in which I am focused. I wonder if the cash-rich Gulf Cooperation Council countries, which are net creditors to the rest of the world, are not the best place on the planet to be right now?