x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Support act a welcome start

Since Nasser al Shaikh exited stage left from Dubai's Department of Finance in May, the market has been waiting for his successor to emerge.

Since Nasser al Shaikh exited stage left from Dubai's Department of Finance in May, the market has been waiting for his successor to emerge from the wings to face a potentially hostile audience. Abdul Rahman al Saleh, Dubai's new finance chief, walked into the spotlight yesterday, complete with a carefully crafted script, as the government revealed its new fund that will manage the proceeds of a US$20 billion (Dh73.46bn) bond programme.

The news was dispatched to the media complete with a video interview and accompanying transcript, courtesy of the recently appointed public relations company Brunswick. The company is clearly keen to counter accusations that the department has been less than transparent in disclosing where the bond money is going and how much of it has already been distributed. Those questions remain unanswered today, but observers may draw some encouragement that a little more light has been shed on how the bond proceeds will be distributed through the new Dubai Financial Support Fund.

Markets everywhere hate uncertainty. The announcement yesterday at least seems to acknowledge that the more investors, ratings agencies and the media know about how such vast sums of money are being distributed to cash-strapped government-related entities, the more likely it is that the enterprise will achieve its ultimate aim of putting those entities back on an even keel. The plot may have received mixed reviews, but the choreography was outstanding.

scronin@thenational.ae