Dubai – Good News Week Two

I see that former England cricket captain, Michael Atherton, has joined the long list of Poms who seem to delight in finding faults with anything associated with Dubai. Maybe he should concentrate his efforts on trying to improve the performance of the woeful team that he once led.

But in contrast to much of the world, more good economic news continues to emanate from this Gulf emirate.

Some 2011 company results have just been published with more due out in the next few days.

Dubai Islamic Bank has seen a 25% surge in profits over the year whilst bellwether stock, Emaar, had an impressive 50% jump in Q4 profits. Meanwhile Tamwheel seems to have rid itself of all its previous problems by posting a massive 400% profit improvement in Q4.

The local stock market – like many others around the world – was down in the doldrums last year but 2012 is another story. The Dubai Financial Market General Index is up 9.1% so far this year – a lot better than the FTSE 100 which has gained 5.9% over the same period.

This week has seen the conclusion of yet another successful Dubai Shopping Festival with estimates that the month long event brought in over 4 million visitors and increased retail sales by over US$ 4 billion and was a boon for the local tourist industry.

On the global front, following a foray into Facebook going public, analysts have valued the social media company in excess of US$ 95 billion.

Meanwhile it appears that two mining giants – Glencore and Xstrata – are merging with the new entity being valued at US$ 80 billion.

The conundrum is why a company with Revenue of US$ 3.8 billion and profits of US$ 1.5 billion has a valuation more than a company with Revenue of US$ 180 billion and profits of over US$ 12 billion? Hopefully this is not the start of another bubble!

As indicated in an earlier blog, it is only a matter of time before the Greek patient succumbs to its terminal financial problems and returns to trading in drachma. Nobody knows the real impact this will have on the Eurozone but it could be the start of a long hot summer of discontent across the continent.

Here we just have to be mindful of what is happening over in Iran and hope that world leaders come to their senses and take appropriate action in Syria.

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