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Dubai back in the game?


Widely touted to be over the recession and debt-laden years of 2010, is the UAE and the GCC out of the woods? While some agree, others say it could be a short-lived period of relief.

March 27, 2013 2:01 by

In an interesting glass half-full-or-half-empty-type situation, Kipp came across an article entitled Good times finite, says economist, alongside this optimistic piece; Generous job market sees expats flocking to Dubai.

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? Kipp’s inclined to agree with the latter, so let us start with that.

Speaking at a conference hosted by the Higher Colleges of Technology’s Festival of Thinkers series, Simon Williams, the chief economist at HSBC for the Middle East said: “the current good times the Gulf region is experiencing could come to an end in three years.”

Claiming budget deficits will become apparent by 2016, Williams argued: “For the oil states this is a magnificent time. I hope all of you are enjoying it and making money, because it doesn’t get much better. We are passing through a phase of super-abundance and a period of time when governments can spend aggressively and continue to add to their stocks of savings. Those rising levels of public spending are part of a finite economic cycle that will come to a close when spending comes up against that revenue ceiling.”

Ominous words, if you ask Kipp, but not wholly unfounded—his time frames may seem more severe, but Williams is far from the first economist to articulate such sentiments. On the other hand, consider the rosy up-beat claims of the Commercial Manager of recruitment firm BAC Middle East, Cliff Single who says Dubai is back in the game.

“Generally speaking, the business sector here has a lot more momentum and growth than a lot of other parts of the world. Even though more Emiratis are coming into the private sector, it is still growing, so there’s still opportunities for everyone” says Single.

So is this as good as it is going to get? Are the next few years going to be the penultimate of success that the UAE and other Gulf countries will be able to achieve, in terms of public spending and employment opportunities? Given the planned trajectory in line with Doha’s 2022 or Dubai’s World Expo 2020 aspirations, such cynicism seems premature if not downright pessimistic.

Let us know what you think below.

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