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Dubai keeps FDI f’cast despite regional unrest

Regional unrest to lift investments in stable emirate; Latin America, Asia seen as top Dubai foreign investors

May 11, 2011 4:51 by

Dubai is sticking to its forecast that foreign direct investment will jump by up to 30 percent this year despite widening unrest across the Middle East, an official said.

Fahad al-Gergawi, chief executive of Dubai’s Foreign Investment Office, said the Gulf Arab emirate is seen as a safe haven as it has been insulated from political uprisings in North Africa this year and most recently in Bahrain and Syria as well.

“We have seen interest of foreign companies double in the first quarter compared to the same period last year. We are seeing more interest coming from Latin America altogether, led by Brazil,” Gergawi told Reuters.

“We are also seeing a good increase in interest from China and East Asia,” he said on the sidelines of an investment meeting in the emirate on Tuesday.

Dubai, a business hub which accounts for nearly a third of the United Arab Emirate’s gross domestic product and 80 percent of its non-oil trade, has seen foreign direct investment (FDI) pick up as it has recovered from the global downturn and its own debt crisis.

Gergawi said he would keep his previous forecasts of a rise in FDI of 20 to 30 percent to Dubai this year.

Asked about the impact of regional unrest on foreign investment in Dubai, Gergawi said: “The impact will be positive in general. But this is not the first time for us. This is what has happened during all the decades that have passed.”

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects Dubai’s economy to expand by 2.8 percent this year.

(Reporting by Martina Fuchs; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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