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Mon 15 Dec 2008 10:25 AM

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Dubai seeks credit rating for next year

Emirate already in talks with ratings agencies in effort to boost investor confidence amid financial crisis.

Dubai will seek a sovereign credit rating by mid-2009 and is already in talks with ratings agencies, director-general of the Dubai Department of Finance said in remarks published on Monday.

"We will go for a rating by the middle of next year," Emirates Business quoted Nasser al-Shaikh as saying. "We are in talks with the various rating agencies but haven't taken any final decision on whom to appoint."

Shaikh is a member of a committee set up in Dubai, one of seven emirates in the United Arab Emirates federation, to respond to a financial crisis that has shaken investor sentiment and heightened concerns about transparency.

He said last month the global credit crisis had lent urgency to Dubai's plan to seek a sovereign credit rating, as banks become more discerning about who they lend money to.

Concerns have surfaced about how Dubai government companies will refinance about $70 billion in debts.

"Rating was not an important part of our strategy before and so it was not done in the past," Shaikh was quoted as saying on Monday. "But looking at what is going on today, we believe rating will help boost confidence in the market." (Reuters)

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