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01 December 2023

Bringing an end to all festivities

The Dubai index witnessed a disastrous slip in the week ending Christmas Day. (LOAY ABU HAYKAL)

By Staff Writer

Even during the frivolity of the Christmas and new year party season, the serious nature of business and global politics goes on unabated.

While revellers, no-doubt dressed in their finest clobber, eat, drink and be merry, always there will be something looming to dull people's festive spirits.

So, while much of the world's population took a couple of days off from dealing with the unpleasant realities of impending financial Armageddon to wear tinsel around their heads and gorge on turkey and all the trimmings, trading in this part of the world continued.

And it made for more unpleasant-but-compelling reading on December 26, as the Western world slept off its collective food hangover.

For the best-read online story last week was sobering news that Dubai stocks plunged under selling pressure, suffering as it did the third largest weekly retreat so far this year.

The DFM on December 25 lost 22.48 points, or 1.40 per cent, to close at 1,587.08 – not the nicest of Christmas gifts for anyone.

Moreover, the index lost 322.23 points in the week-ending Christmas Day, a disastrous slip of 16.8 per cent. It has, to some extent, recovered since that body blow.

There was some more positive news, however, in the shape of DP World's shares advancing 2.94 per cent at the beginning of the final session of Christmas week, with high volumes of around 8.63 million shares. The movement came after news the company was negotiating with the Egyptian government to build a container terminal at the Red Sea Port of Al Ein Al Sikhna, valued at $700 million (Dh2,572m).

Also highly clickable among Emirates Business' online readers was news Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) was to reduce production from its Murban and Upper Zakum fields.

The decision was in line with Opec's decision to cut a further 2.2 million bpd to shore up declining oil prices, made at a meeting in Algeria earlier this month.

In Saturday's edition, it was the annual summit of Gulf leaders in Oman, which caught readers' attention, with an exclusive story about experts urging the approval of a plan for currency union. This, they insisted, would aid the region in tackling the global economic crisis.

(However, since then Emirates Business has learned the six Gulf nations have agreed in principle to implement corporate and individual income tax by 2012 – with a view to bringing the deadline closer, as reported in our daily sister paper).

In other news, in a country renowned for high property prices, one house stood out from the crowd and was featured in the On the Market section of the Homes pull-out, and making it to number three of our five best-read stories.

Nestled in the ultra-exclusive enclave of Emirates Hills, the eight-bedroom, eight-bathroom property stretches over a whopping 34,091sq ft and is up for grabs at Dh133.9m. A figure not for the faint-hearted.

And finally, perhaps as an antidote to a year of doom and gloom, our sport team's year in review, published on Friday, December 26, proved popular viewing – looking at the highs and lows, the ups and downs, and the darn-right weird of the past 12 months' sporting calendar. Indispensable reading.