Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Buh-Bye, Dubai

Boom Times go Boom. From the London Times:

'...For many expatriate workers in Dubai it was the ultimate symbol of their tax-free wealth: a luxurious car that few could have afforded on the money they earned at home...

...Police have found more than 3,000 cars outside Dubai’s international airport in recent months. Most of the cars – four-wheel drives, saloons and “a few” Mercedes – had keys left in the ignition.
Some had used-to-the-limit credit cards in the glove box. Others had notes of apology attached to the windscreen.

“Every day we find more and more cars,” said one senior airport security official, who did not want to be named. “Christmas was the worst – we found more than two dozen on a single day.”...'

What on Earth? Why, those sound like perfectly good automobiles. What's going on?

'...Now, faced with crippling debts as a result of their high living and Dubai’s fading fortunes, many expatriates are abandoning their cars at the airport and fleeing home rather than risk jail for defaulting on loans.

...Under Sharia, which prevails in Dubai, the punishment for defaulting on a debt is severe. Bouncing a check, for example, is punishable with jail. Those who flee the emirate are known as skips...

...Police have issued warrants against owners of the deserted cars. Those who return risk arrest at the airport...'

Oh, I see. Good luck with those airport arrests. They're not coming back. Here are the economic projections for that crazy boom town Dubai in the coming year:

80% of the entire population (about 4.5 million) is expatriate.

8% total population decline predicted this year, as expatriates leave

1,500 visas canceled every day in Dubai

62% of homes occupied by expatriates; 60% fall in property values predicted

50% slump in the price of luxury apartments on Palm Jumeirah

25% reduction in luxury spending among UAE expatriates