Stat of the month: Downturn hits dubai - $80bn - Dubai's National Debt
Insuring Dubai's sovereign debt would cost almost as much as insuring Iceland's. With oil revenues down, the emirate's reliance on finance and a tottering property sector makes it more exposed to economic peril than its less ostentatious Gulf peers. As recently as November, at the £15m party launching Dubai's uber-bling Atlantis Palm Jumeirah hotel, it was wowing 2,000 guests with a £3m firework display, a £2m Kylie gig, and 4,000 lobsters. Then the downturn hit, its stock market collapsed, and the construction industry buckled. Bad news when the sector employs half Dubai's workforce. UBS reckons the population is set to fall 8% this year, as debt-ridden expats jump ship. Hence all those cars dumped at the airport by fleeing Asian and Indian workers, with maxed-out credit cards in the glove box. Last month, neighbouring Abu Dhabi injected funds into its own banks but ignored financial institutions in Dubai, which many thought were guaranteed. Credit agency Moody's has been marking down Dubai's biggest firms. And when you have Lily Allen comparing the £1bn Atlantis Palm Jumeirah to 'a posh Center Parcs', you know you're in trouble.