By Andy Sambidge
Rick Pudner says signs of improvement seen in Q1 but 'sense of fragility' still exists in country
A key player in the UAE's banking sector on Sunday said "a sense of fragility" still threatened a full recovery of the country's economy.
Rick Pudner, CEO of Emirates NBD, said the first quarter of 2011 had seen signs of improvement in some of the UAE's non-oil sectors but added that the country was "not entirely out of the woods yet".
Speaking at a seminar on the banking sector in the post crisis era in Dubai, Pudner said: "The first quarter of 2011 has seen signs of improvement in the UAE and Dubai particularly in the traditional sectors of the economy, such as trade, logistics, services and hospitality."
He told the seminar that he expected economic activity to pick up further as the year progresses.
"Having said that, we are not entirely out of the woods yet, as some key uncertainties, while having progressed satisfactorily to date, remain subject to final resolution.
"Further, as we've seen during the last year or so, there is still a sense of fragility in the global economic recovery and the same remains true of the region and the UAE," he said.
Peter Baltussen, CEO, Commercial Bank of Dubai, added: "The growth in deposits outpaced lending in most UAE banks resulting in an improved loan-to-deposit ratio which now stands at approximately 95 percent at the end of the first quarter of 2011 compared to 105 percent at the end of March 2010.
"The liquidity in the banking sector is back and the signs of further improvement are imminent."
The seminar, organised by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, was attended by a number of top executives of banks and representatives of various business groups and councils in the UAE.