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Sat 8 Dec 2012 09:43 AM

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Moody's downgrades three Dubai banks

Emirates NBD among banks whose ratings are cut on concerns about problem loans

Moody's downgrades three Dubai banks
Emirates NBD, the UAEs largest bank by assets.

Moody's Investors Service has downgraded three Dubai-based banks, including the emirate's largest Emirates NBD, on concerns about problem loans.

The rating agency also put a fourth bank on watch for a possible downgrade owing to high levels of non-performing loans (NPLs).

Moody's lowered long-term ratings for Commercial Bank of Dubai and Emirates NBD to Baa1 from A3, Moody's said in a statement.

Mashreqbank's rating was also cut to Baa2 from Baa1 while all three were given a negative outlook.

The rating of a fourth lender, Dubai Islamic Bank, was put on watch for a possible downgrade.

A statement read: "Despite an improvement in the overall operating environment in Dubai, especially in the core sectors of trade, retail, tourism and transport, Moody's believes that Dubai-based banks continue to face persistent asset quality pressures, which emerged at the start of the crisis four years ago."

It added that problem loans levels remained elevated in the range of 15-17 percent, which is well above the average of Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) banks at 6.1 percent.

Moody's said it expects problem loan levels to remain elevated over the coming quarters, driven by "exposures to large, stressed, government-related issuers" and "legacy corporate impairments, primarily real-estate-related".

"The delayed recognition of these problem loans is continuing to pressure asset quality of the affected banks, and Moody's believes that a limited reduction in headline NPLs is likely over the near term," the statement added.

The action comes despite a revival in Dubai's economy after several years of stagnation in the wake of the financial crisis.

Trade and tourism have picked up, but many banks are still saddled with large non-performing loans.

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Red Snappa 7 years ago

So once again, one asks, who is going to lend Dubai the money for all these much-publicised new mega-projects?

Europe's looking to a triple dip recession in some parts and even Germany's about to slide. So no money from that direction, those banks are out.

US facing it's fiscal cliff, Brazil stalled. And there are still debt restructures floating about out there as yet unresolved.

At least the oil price is falling which is good for the civil aviation industry, tourism, shipping and trade.

However, a falling oil price may also prove the IMF warnings correct, in that heavily increased public spending budgets among GCC oil producers need to be reined in, cut back etc to avoid a deficit by 2017. Which may mean Dubai having to pay Abu Dhabi back part of its bailout bond in the original timescale, certainly the bank provided element.

Special K 7 years ago

Red Snappa, sorry to pick on you but you must be the only person left on the planet giving any credence to these rating companies. They are notorious for being behind the curve, to this date they rate the worlds largest creditor AA and the world largest debtor AA, manipulative politically motivated entities.

Hisham 7 years ago

Maybe it would be time to re-think certain strategies. Like for example easy lending to people with a very low income that barely covers their costs as is, and the refusal to lend to performing SME's that need funding to grow and create jobs as they grow.

procan 7 years ago

Special K.... ignore Moody's at your own peril, here in Canada one of the plants most respected Banking Institutions they take Moody's very seriously in deed. If Moody's was upgrading the Banks in question I am sure they would be calling Moody's a wise visionary respected institution.I would like to here more about Moody's "notorious reputation" we often do not want here the truth from others but being in denial on matters of finance can be foolhardy. Happy Capitalism

Hamid 7 years ago

The Banks in Dubai should be held accountable in this trajic downfall of the properties in Dubai.They must find a way to bailout people who trusted their speculations and lost everything.I would definitely call it as a very big trap and the Banks should have guts to share the loss and contribute in reviving the market once again. This is a very small market and any positive steps taken will help to bring back the lost confidence of millions of investors.I personally believe that all the loans should be written off. Or if someone wants to continue the loans should be adjusted accoding to the realistic market prices of the properties and not the same old faig prices.The Rera should also realise that the title deed charges are extremely high and they should be brought down to a maximum of 0.5% . May God help us to comeback from this man made Disaster. May God give us courage to help the mankind , instead of cheating , using and abusing. Only then we can have peace , prosperity.

Mark 7 years ago

That's why they are called "Moodies"

Khaled 7 years ago

I have heard that one Islamic bank was warned by the audit corporation...
Brazil bank is too...

all eyes turn Islamic banks nowadays.

Mike 7 years ago

Im not surprised...espcially the mashreq bank downgrade.

realiste 7 years ago

am sure we all agree with you Special K, but that was not the point of Red Snappa's comment, so yours is a bit lost in translation!

Thamir Ghaslan 7 years ago

Back in the 90s Saudi nationalized its banks, citing national security and giving employment opportunities to the locals, despite the usual stereotypes of the local being unqualified, unproductive, lacking working ethics, etc.

Fast forward today and we all know about the global financial meltdowns and how it unaffected Saudi banking.

He who laughs last...