(Adds details from conference call)
WASHINGTON Dec 2 The International Monetary
Fund expects to cut its 2010 growth forecast for the United
Arab Emirates because of fallout from the Dubai debt crisis, a
senior IMF official said on Wednesday.
Masood Ahmed, director for the IMF's Middle East and
Central Asia Department, told reporters the IMF was looking at
revising down its growth forecast for the UAE's non-oil gross
domestic product to "significantly lower" than the 3 percent it
had projected in October.
The debt woes of government-owned Dubai World have dented
confidence in the Gulf Arab business hub and could lead to
higher credit borrowing costs, and may impact neighboring
countries as the conglomerate postpones international projects,
"Our anticipation is that there will be a significant
reduction in that growth rate, down from 3 percent, probably
somewhere between 1 percent and 3 percent," said Ahmed,
following a preliminary assessment of the crisis.
Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the UAE, has
been rocked by the crisis at Dubai World DBWLD.UL, which
announced late on Monday it will meet with creditors to delay
payment on $26 billion in debt.
Ahmed said Dubai World's announcement of the amount of debt
it is seeking to restructure "has helped to put boundaries
around the amount and the scope of the debt restructuring."
He said the IMF was also encouraged by Dubai World's
announcement it will strive for equitable treatment of
creditors in the debt talks, but emphasized more was needed.
"We do believe that continuous engagement and communication
with creditors and investors will be critical to ensure an
orderly and timely solution," he added.
Direct financial impact on international banks that loaned
money to Dubai World is expected to be "contained and
manageable," Ahmed said.
(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; Editing by Leslie Adler)
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