Dubai economy now on the up, say DED and HSBC Banking

Traditionally a treasure chest of good news for the financial and banking world, Dubai is boasting more positive data these days, according to reports by HSBC and Dubai Department of Economic Development (DED).

DED has showed that the recovery in the Gulf country is now well on its way – a stark contrast with the situation of troubled Eurozone countries.

The governmental institute recorded in the first quarter of the year an increase in trade licences by 27 per cent over the same period last year.

This has been interpreted as a sign of mounting business confidence, a trend which was also noted earlier this month by HSBC, which highlighted a 10 per cent increase on the number of visitors to Dubai over the previous year.

At the same time, reports by HSBC Holdings also showed that, in the month of April, non-oil private sector business reached a 10-month high thanks to new business orders and more staff being hired.

This was accompanied by increasing sales revenues and an encouraging atmosphere surrounding services and trading sectors.

On a more general level, Dubai’s GDP is now expected to grow by 4 to 5 per cent this year, a number that exceeds previous predictions of 2.5 per cent.

Most of the credit goes now to Dubai’s thriving trade sector which, combined with tourism and five more sectors represents 96 per cent of the country’s GDP, and is a symbol of the country’s expanding business opportunities.

Mohammed Shael Al Saadi, chief executive of business registration and licensing at DED, also welcomed the data, and said that it will drive “growing interest in engaging in diverse business activities in Dubai”.

Al Saadi words were followed by chief economist at Dubai’s Economic Council, Ali Tawfiq Al Sadeq, who added: “Growth this year will be supported by expansion in overall economic activities and strong performance of key factors. This was shown in the first quarter of 2012.”


HSBC agrees to sell Latin American operations to Columbia’s Banco GNB

British banking group HSBC Holdings Plc (LON:HSBA) announced it had agreed to sell its operations in Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Paraguay to Colombian peer Banco GNB Sudameris SA, owned by the Gilinski Group, for USD400m (EUR310.5m) in cash.

HSBC expects to close the divestment of the activities in Colombia and Peru in the fourth quarter of the year, while the sale of the businesses in Uruguay and Paraguay is seen to be concluded in the first quarter of 2013, it said. All of the transactions are conditional and need to obtain regulatory clearance. The total purchase price will be adjusted to reflect the divested businesses’ net asset value at completion.

The company unveiled that its Latin American unit was holding talks on the matter last week. The disposals are part of HSBC’s strategy and mirror its desire to concentrate on the operations with the greatest potential for sustainable growth, said Antonio Losada, president and chief executive officer of HSBC Latin America and the Caribbean.

The activities being sold consists of 62 branches throughout four countries and had a gross asset value of USD4.5bn as at the end of December 2011.

London-based HSBC is a banking and financial services organisation with around 7,200 offices in more than 80 countries worldwide. At the end of March 2012, the group’s assets amounted to USD2.64trn.

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