Sunday, 29 November 2009

Dubai Wobbles - What Does It Mean?

Two authoritative bloggers, Robert Peston and Stephanie Flanders on the BBC site have given the conventional view that the Dubai debt repayment blip is merely that.

They also argue that if push comes to shove then the European banks which are estimated to be exposed to around 50% of the total $80bn that Dubai owes, then they can absorb those losses well within their stride. In reality, they say a big Sugar Daddy in Abu Dhabi is on hand to pick up the tab anyway and they are just toying with Dubai.

It sort of shows just how punch drunk we have become to big numbers. This is a sovereign state - and a rich one at that - delaying loans because of excessive debt.

Substitute any rich nation having trouble repaying their loans - and there may be a fair few soon - and you have the real picture. Countries all across the globe, with few exceptions, have vastly increased their borrowing to support the bank meltdown. In doing so, they have burdened their taxpayers with extraordinary new debts and, for the most part, they have underwritten the future debts of the entire global banking system. And we are in the final throws of a recession so there is no growth to offset these debts.

To my mind, Dubai is a stark reminder of how precarious the global economy has become and how interdependent we all are on one another. The butterfly wings beating in Dubai could have a dramatic effect on the world economy and particularly if we remain unimpressed by the magnitude of the numbers involved.

A sovereign state has found repaying its debt hard. It's a wake up call for us all - you don't need many more countries announcing the same for the world to become a pretty shaky place.

It's a real reminder to our Government - plan to repay those debts and take action now. Delay, and we could be in the same boat with no Sugar Daddy oil state locally to bail us out. It should make us think hard.

No comments: