UAE halts building projects worth $582B: study

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Feb 06 2009 12:46 AM | Updated as of Feb 06 2009 08:46 AM

DUBAI - More than half the building projects in the United Arab Emirates, together worth 582 billion dollars or 45 per cent of total value, have been put on hold amid the global financial crisis, a study said on Thursday.

The number of projects suspended is 52.8 percent of the total but the ones which are ongoing have a greater combined value of 698 billion dollars, according to figures published by the Dubai-based Proleads market research company.

The study put the total value of construction orders in the oil-rich state at 1.28 trillion dollars.

Proleads cast doubt over the completion timetable of real estate developments scheduled to be ready in early 2009.

"While numerous real estate projects are scheduled for completion in early 2009, the rate at which projects are being completed has slowed down," the market search group said.

Yet more projects may be deferred in 2009 in the real estate sector, which represented in mid-January 84 percent of the total value of construction orders, but suspensions will be fewer among infrastructure schemes, it said.

The study said the projects which are continuing indicate that the UAE economy is still doing better than other economies hit by the global financial crisis.

"To put it into perspective, the 698 billion dollars of continuing work we are reporting is almost equivalent to the latest stimulus package proposed for the United States," said Emil Rademeyer, director of Proleads Global.

"The UAE may no longer be the land of milk and honey but it is still in a far better position than most," he said.

Proleads said that a frenzied real estate sector in the emirate of Dubai led to five-years of unrelenting growth in the UAE construction industry, but the global financial crisis has cast its shadow.