Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders
The Reuters Middle East Investment Summit in Dubai was hit by the whirlwind visit of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown across the Gulf as he looked to drum up support for ailing British firms and convince Gulf investors the IMF’s bailout fund was a safe place to put their cash. After courting Saudi Arabia and Abu Dhabi, it was a fleeting visit to the region’s commercial hub Dubai. As his motorcade flew passed the world’s tallest tower But hark…we have seen this before. President George Bush headed to the United Arab Emirates more than a year ago. But that’s where the similarities stop. For Mr Bush, Dubai ground to a halt. Chaos ensued. Streets were closed. Workers sent home. The President was in town, so that was that. Fast forward November 4, 2008. Mr Brown is here. Dubai is business as usual, although The Prime Minister’s motorcade did delay a speaker for the Reuters summit. Perhaps the credit crunch has meant random days off are no longer on the Dubai agenda……. unless you’re the President of course.
Asked if weakness in the New York real estate market – which has been fairly resilient so far – could signal a bottom for the battered U.S. housing market, the head of the influential National Bureau of Economic Research said :
”No, no no! The New York real estate market is priced in euros and pesos,” Martin Feldstein said, referring to overseas investors snapping up property in the Big Apple which for them works out as a relative bargain because of the weak dollar.