By Andy Sambidge
Standard Chartered consumer banking chief says country 'not out of the woods yet'.
A senior UAE banker has warned that a second wave of job cuts could hit the country next year as companies continue to struggle amid the global downturn.
Chris de Bruin, the country head of consumer banking at Standard Chartered estimated that up to 1,000 jobs had been lost so far in local banks.
“We are not out of the woods yet, by no stretch of imagination. We may see some corporate failures and stress in the corporate world,” de Bruin said in comments published on Sunday by UAE daily The National.
“Our biggest challenge [as consumer bankers] are people who have lost their jobs.”
The worldwide downturn has seen thousands of jobs lost in the financial and property sectors in the UAE during the past 12 months.
“Next year we will still see quite a lot of stress as people continue to lose their jobs. We are still on high alert,” he told the paper.
The warning came despite signs of renewed economic confidence emerging in the UAE.
Shuaa Capital's investor sentiment index rose for the third month running in October while Dr Omar bin Sulaiman, the vice chairman of the UAE Central Bank, said last week he expected the economy to grow between 3.5 and 4.5 percent next year.
Whilst commending Mr de Bruin on finally voicing what everyone on the street is thinking, I think SC Bank could take it one step further and be the first to offer some kind of support, or relaxation of rules for people that do lose their income. That would be a truly momentous step that would earn SC a lot of kudos, and customers. Admitting they will probably be filing police reports against bounced cheques as frequently in 2010, is not so noteworthy.
Unless the people that lose their jobs are able to find another high paying job they will be on the next plane out of town as expenses in the UAE are really high for someone to be able to sustain without proper income (Especially if they have a family). If more people lose their jobs I see further drops in the real estate sector which supports the article the other day written in Arabian Business that prices could fall another 30%. I see this as very likely since banks are laying off employees and not giving out mortgage loans or personal loans.