Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 1 April 2020

UAE Central Bank ready to offer support in mitigating Covid-19 risks

The regulator said that it has directed its internal staff to comply with sanitisation procedures when handling cash

The UAE Central Bank said it is ready to support local banks in dealing with any downside risks from Covid-19. Ryan Carter / The National
The UAE Central Bank said it is ready to support local banks in dealing with any downside risks from Covid-19. Ryan Carter / The National

The Central Bank of the UAE said on Wednesday that it is prepared to support the country’s banking system in mitigating any downside risk from the coronavirus outbreak.

The regulator also added that it has established a committee to ensure there is no disruption in critical services to individual or corporate consumers. The entity said that it directed banks in the country to have sufficient cash loaded at their ATMs while branches were informed to update customers in case there was a change in opening hours.

“We are closely monitoring the development of the Covid-19 outbreak and working with banks and other stakeholders to provide appropriate assistance as necessary to support the economy and minimise adverse impact on financial stability and economic growth,” Mubarak Al Mansoori, governor of the Central Bank of the UAE, said.

In addition to wider policies, the central bank said its internal staff dealing with cash are strictly requested to “comply with sanitisation procedures” while it has directed staff transporting cash between branches to handle cash with gloves and not bare hands.

The regulator also asked its employees to work remotely, swapping physical meetings with virtual ones.

In February, the Central Bank of the UAE said financial institutions are expected to implement measures such as the "re-scheduling of loans contracts, granting temporary deferrals on monthly loan payments as well as reducing fees and commissions" for customers affected by the virus.

The regulator said at the time that UAE banks remain well-capitalised and are in a good position to support customers affected by the virus, without "jeopardising their own safety and soundness".

The Central Bank’s latest preventive measures come as the coronavirus outbreak intensifies outside China, the county of its origin. The virus has now evolved into a pandemic, with a death toll exceeding 4,300 cases while it has infected more than 122,000 people worldwide.

Governments world over have taken steps to combat the economic fall-out from the virus. Economists forecast that the rapid spread of the virus could potentially lead to a deceleration in global growth while the UN says it could lead the foreign direct investments to fall as much as 15 per cent this year.

Updated: March 12, 2020 02:43 PM

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