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Wed 7 Sep 2011 03:54 PM

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UAE banking system resilient, finance minister says

Obaid Humaid Al Tayer says country’s banks can withstand any external shocks

UAE banking system resilient, finance minister says
UAEs banking industry is in good shape and will be able to withstand any external shocks, the countrys finance ministry said

The banking system of the UAE is in good shape and will be able to withstand any external shocks, the Gulf Arab country's finance ministry said on Wednesday.

"We're quite comfortable and confident of the resilience of our banking sector," minister for financial affairs Obaid Humaid Al Tayer told reporters after a meeting of Arab finance ministers in Abu Dhabi.

"We remain always vigilant," Tayer said, adding that the country would always act to ensure confidence and liquidity in the banking system.

With another financial crisis brewing in Europe and fears of a global recession, there are growing concerns of a repeat of the 2008-2009 burst of the global asset bubble, which forced investment conglomerate Dubai World to seek a debt standstill in 2009.

Asked whether Arab finance ministers discussed the risks of contagion, Tayer said that it was not addressed in Wednesday's meeting.

"The issue was not really discussed. As you know the current issue is quite volatile and fluid so we did not address this situation - currently we did not feel there is a need," Tayer said. It is the global economy that is going through certain turmoil, and I'm sure there are other meetings that will happen between now and December [to address the issue]."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's finance minister pointed to risks to its exports on Wednesday should the financial crisis in Europe lead to slower economic growth, although it may also present opportunities for its oil-rich investors.

There are growing fears that a fresh crisis in Europe could trigger a global recession.

Asked about any potential impact, Alassaf said: "Concerns could be for trade, or demand for Saudi production or exports."

"But on the other hand, it may be an opportunity for investors," Alassaf said.

Saudi Arabia, with more than $400bn in assets, is the Arab world's richest country.


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