A More Prosperous New Year

a sedate, indoors and thus legal event

"Bond girls" celebrate at 007 party: a sedate, indoors and thus legal event

It’s a strange New Year sentiment in Dubai. With public, outdoor celebrations cancelled, in order to preserve a sombre tone in support of the Palestinians in Gaza, Dubai held vigils by candlelight, rather than parties with fireworks.

Our party at Al Murooj Hotel went ahead, indoors. And what happened at 10 seconds to midnight? The DJ faded the track down so we could shout out our own countdown, but he couldn’t lead it for us.

There are headlines here wishing everyone a more prosperous 2009, but it’s very hard to gauge local reaction to the global economic crisis.

I was surprised to see that Dubai’s stock market lost more than 70 per cent in value over 2008. Sentiment just doesn’t seem that bad here. Malls are full, shoppers walk around with bulging bags and lots of labels.

When I arrived here three weeks ago people were saying the crunch had hit Dubai only two weeks earlier. That’s at least a two month lag from London.

One excellent indicator is rental prices. They’ve dropped more than 10 per cent in the last month. Great stuff considering we’re looking to take on a lease in the next month.

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