UAE gov't firms face $30bn debts due in 2012

IMF also says 'significant amount of debt' due in 2014-15; welcomes Dubai consolidation
UAE gov't firms face $30bn debts due in 2012
By Andy Sambidge
Wed 16 May 2012 07:39 PM

The International Monetary Fund said government-related companies in the UAE have about $30bn of debt due this year.

The companies also have a “significant amount of debt” due in 2014 and 2015, the IMF said in a statement released on Wednesday.

Its executive directors said they "welcomed the consolidation plans in Dubai, which will help improve the emirate’s debt sustainability in the face of contingent liabilities related to government-related entities and the still weak real estate market".

Directors also stressed the need for further efforts to mitigate the fiscal risks posed by government-related entities, saying GREs were "still faced with high refinancing needs and are reliant on foreign funding".

They also welcomed the "continued economic recovery and favourable near-term outlook" but added that downside risks remained from the uncertain global environment and regional geopolitical tensions.

IMF directors urged UAE authorities to continue their efforts to sustain growth and diversify the economy, while maintaining macroeconomic and financial stability.

In the statement, the IMF emphasised the importance of managing public expenditure carefully in light of recent salary increases.

IMF directors also lauded the resilience of the banking sector grounded on "ample liquidity and capital buffers".

"The recovery of the economy is continuing despite the uncertain global economic environment. High oil prices and increased production, strong growth in Asia, and the UAE’s perceived safe haven status in the context of the regional turmoil contributed to an estimated real GDP growth of 4.9 percent in 2011," the IMF statement said.

Despite the continued weakness of the construction and real estate sectors in the wake of the 2009 crisis, real nonhydrocarbon growth picked up to an estimated 2.7 percent last year, supported by trade, logistics, and tourism.

For 2012, oil production is projected to be flat, whereas non-oil growth is expected to strengthen further to 3.5 percent.

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