From Wednesday onwards, CEE and global markets were influenced by the news flow from and around Dubai. The property firm Nakheel, a unit of the state-owned Dubai World, asked lenders for a standstill agreement, ie., a delay of debt payments due on Dec. 14 for at least five months, in the amount of USD 3.5bn. The total debt of Dubai World, which is heavily involved in real estate development via its property unit Nakheel PJSC, stands at USD 22bn. Dubai has USD 80bn gross debt. It will likely boil down to whether, and to what extent, oil and dollar rich Abu Dhabi will further support its ailing neighbour. As only shortly before the request for a repayment delay a USD 5bn sale to Abu Dhabi banks was arranged, it seems it is getting more difficult for Dubai to obtain sufficient support from this side. Concerns on global markets refer mainly to the effects of any default by Dubai World on banks' balance sheets and a possible selloff of equities by (Arab) state funds to free up liquidity to support Dubai. At the same time, the debt in question is not government guaranteed and therefore a default would not be a sovereign default. CEE currencies were hit hard by the news from the Middle East, and CDS increased between 20 - 35 bp compared to last week as markets shifted into risk aversion mode. While future developments in Dubai are highly uncertain, the amounts involved do not point to a financial meltdown. Leaving market sentiment aside, there are no reasons why the CEE region should be especially affected by the events in Dubai. It appears that UK banks have the highest exposure to the Emirates. Local data will hardly have any impact on markets next week, but for those looking beyond that, it will nevertheless be interesting. Monday will bring Czech industrial production data post-German-scrap-premium. The same day, Polish 3Q GDP figures will be released. Finally, the week will close with a 3Q GDP breakdown for Romania and Slovakia. The second round of the Romanian presidential elections are scheduled for the following weekend.
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