Billionaire Saudi investor Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, says Western banks have no one to blame but themselves for their troubled loans to investment firm Dubai World.
“These are very mature banks, and they have to differentiate between a corporate loan and a sovereign loan,” he told Bloomberg.
“When things go sour, you can’t have some banks in the west going to Dubai and saying . . . you should have guaranteed those loans.”
British banks were among the biggest lenders to government-controlled Dubai World, which seeks to restructure $26 billion of its debt.
Many western creditors assumed Dubai’s government would guarantee Dubai World’s debt, but the government has said no.
Alwaleed said the confusion about how Dubai’s government would deal with Dubai World’s debt hurt investors’ perception of the Mideast.
“However, you have to understand that other countries such as Saudi Arabia, Qatar and neighboring Abu Dhabi are countries to be reckoned with,” he told Bloomberg.
“With the price of oil where it is now, I don’t think their economies will be shaken at all.”
Oil prices have recently approached $80 a barrel.
Experts say Dubai won’t be the last government to leave its companies to their own devices on debt.
“I see very good reasons to be worried (about) that, . . . because governments realize they can’t afford to guarantee the debts of these companies,” Pierre Cailleteau of Moody’s told The New York Times.
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