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Dubai debt crisis sounds new alarm for tightening risk management

2009-11-30 11:42 BJT

Special Report: Dubai Debt Crisis |

BEIJING, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Global investors are now on pins and needles again after the breakout of the Dubai debt crisis, even though their confidence is being restored with the gradual recovery of the world's ailing economy.

Dubai World, one of Dubai's largest and most important conglomerates, on Wednesday asked for a delay in repaying some of the 60 billion U.S. dollars it owes to creditors, causing panic and concerns across the world.

A year ago, the collapse of Lehman Brothers led to a financial crisis on the global scale, leaving the world with painful lessons to learn about the importance of risk management.

The latest Dubai crisis, which took place in the commercial, trading and financial center of the Gulf area, once again highlighted the urgency of crisis-combating and the all-along importance of risk regulation in global economic decisions.

Debt financing is a key pattern of financial leverage in modern economic operations. In the mean time, the judgement and measurement of risks are pivotal to determining the ratio of a leverage. A high leverage ratio may help augment profits under favorable market conditions, while it can also be destructive in an adverse economic environment.

To achieve leapfrog development, Dubai has been relying heavily on such fields as high-end real estate and finance in recent years. But overspeeding brings possible dangers.

The ongoing global economic downturn has diverted much of investors' capital preference, leaving some of the high-class projects in Dubai unable to attract buyers or tenants as people have expected. And as a result, their book value continued to shrink.

At last, both enterprises and the government find it difficult to hold on, as financing and re-financing have become an increasingly tough job, more projects are left half-way done and the original mode of profit-making cease to work.

However, similar situations are not limited within Dubai. Additionally, along with the waves of contract-breaching crisis, the tide of new born problems are causing concerns as these counter-crisis measures like low interest rates and abundant flow of capital continue.

What's worse, investment in low-cost U.S. dollars for the purpose of hedging would probably give rise to another round of economic crisis should risk management fail.

It is crystal clear that a number of European financial institutions are swallowing the direct impact of the crisis in Dubai, while their U.S. counterparts are still on the possible victim's list.

Why the same mistake is being repeated while these hardest-hit banking institutions are repairing its firewalls amid the financial crisis starting late last year? The regulatory agencies of the developed nations should be much more vigilant in seeking answers to that question.

Nevertheless, emerging economies are not immune to the Dubai crisis, said some experts. The emerging markets would be stormed once turbulence comes around and a similar crisis breaks out in the credit market due to the widespread impact of collapsing real estate bubbles.

Presently, as the world has still been coping with the ongoing economic crisis, nations of all continents should seriously consider how to avoid a second dip and promote the world economic recovery.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, managing director of the International Monetary Fund, said that while the world economy is recovering, it is still highly vulnerable. Every economy should attach great importance to and strengthen risk management, especially in the financial sector.

Editor: Du Xiaodan | Source: Xinhua