Posts Tagged ‘new’

Share markets across Europe opened over 1% lower this morning as worries over Dubai’s debt problem hit investor confidence. With news from Dubai World that it will delay paying some of its debt, the Asian markets took a sharp dent too.

Not so long ago, Dubai was synonymous with success and prosperity. If there was an extravagant building going up, a bridge ridiculous in ambition falling into place or an absurdly luxurious hotel spring out of the sand, you could bet it was in Dubai. However, problems with Dubai World and Nakheel have thrown a dark cloud over the future of the emirate.

dubai

In fact, this image of a playground of the rich and haven of opportunity was behind hundreds of thousands of people moving to Dubai.  Only recently did figures indicate that 25,000 people a month moved to Dubai in a way not seen since the California gold rush.

However, Dubai World – the conglomerate which led the emirate’s giant expansion drive – had a total $59bn of liabilities. A majority, then, of the $80bn total of Dubai. The news has shocked markets and even – perhaps as a stroke of good news – the prices of oil have fallen 4.5%.

Of course, speculation being the wonderful thing it is, there’s a concern growing that Dubai World will prove unable to pay back its debtors and Nakheel will be unable to finish work on the Palm Jumeriah (that lovely palm-tree shaped development island) and prices and values have started that sharp journey to rock-bottom.

Now though the spiralling price of property and fears as the once staggering-future of Dubai becomes questionable, the biggest fear is that, with banks and builders set to take a big hit, the fall of Dubai’s fortunes could throw the global recession back into the downward swing.

It’s certainly strange to think of this happening in Dubai when it was so very recently seen as development-central, with such over-the-top buildings as the Burj Dubai, being seen as an example of how countries can move away from reliance on oil (albeit in a somewhat tasteless sense) and pulling in money from tourism and investment.

Such a shame.

His name must be one of the most discussed in motoring press since Lee Iacocca first saved Chrysler back in the 80’s but sat this morning, while nursing my first coffeeat the office, that Sergio Marchionne was planning on another big buy: Switzerland.

Once I’d mopped up the spluttered coffee I learnt that this was, infact, just another demonstration on the power of myth and the internet for peddling the rumour mill. A spoof newswire from Dow Jones was flying around emails and the news had travelled ‘overnight’ from the U.S to my leafy office in Kent that the Fiat boss had extended his megalomania beyond the auto-industry and into geography.

Apparently, Sergio  feels buying Switzerland would be a great way to rationalize a surfeit of brands and capacity, both for the car industry and Europe. The CEO of Fiat is hoping to line up some cash from the Italian government to fund the fusion of Fiat, Chrysler and Opel / Vauxhall (Saab is still uncertain) though there’s no mention as to whether tax money would fund his purchase of some choice ski slopes. Given the behaviour of Italy’s president I wouldn’t be all that surprised if he considered this a genuine idea and gladly handed over funds.

There’s also been no mention as yet if Marchionne is amused or even gives a flying… about the spoof report. The real question though is to whether the creation of such a giant car company is a good idea, VW’s chief has already called it “unhealthy” but is that just sour grapes. 

What do you reckon: would Fiat’s growth and acquisitions be a positive move for the auto-industry, wallowing in the mud as it is?

It sickens me how much media attention is given to Jade Goody – it does. Nobody else, celebrity or otherwise who has battled or is battling with it has been given it or so disgustingly searched for it. 

However, today it was made clear just how some people function. In what have widely been reported as her daughers’ last hours, Jackiey Goody (don’t even get me started on her) popped out for a while:

“Jackiey, 51, took a brief break from nursing Jade to visit a beauty salon for a fake tan.

On her return, she told a woman who handed her flowers: “I’m feeling better now I’m brown.” 

Because that’s what you do, isn’t it. Your daughter’s reportedly dying and clinging to life, so you pop off to get a nice fake tan.

I’m not kidding – read it here if you really want to damage your IQ.

Glorious. This country is a wondeful place to be.