Is there a slump in demand for loans?

Based on a Central Bank survey, the demand for loans in the fourth quarter of 2015 in the UAE has dropped to a negative. This is the first time it has been in the negative range since 2014. Residents and SMEs have been reluctant to borrow and at the same time banks aren’t easily willing to lend. Higher interest rates are also demotivating people from taking loans.

[Related: What is good debt and bad debt?]

Are bad loans affecting UAE banks?

Banks in the UAE are facing the brunt of bad loans. NBAD’s profit  in the fourth quarter fell by 25 percent and Mashreq Bank’s income fell by 14 percent. For NBAD, money set aside to pay for bad debts in the fourth quarter doubled to AED 436 million compared to the same period in 2014 where it was AED 200 million. However, other banks such as Dubai Islamic Bank reported an increase in profit of AED 1.03 billion in the fourth quarter.

Deadline for health insurance cover in Dubai

According to Dubai Health Authority (DHA), the deadline for all residents to have health insurance cover is June 30. Fines will be levied on sponsors of  residents who have failed to get health insurance during the visa renewal process. Therefore spouses, housemaids, and elderly parents should be covered by their sponsors. Keep in mind:

  • If your dependent such as a parent or spouse is under your sponsorship and their visa is up for renewal before the deadline, they should still be insured as they are legally viable.
  • The amount of the fine is yet to be disclosed.

Compare health insurance in the UAE

Increased penalties for using phone while driving?

The Federal Traffic Council has recommended an increase in the penalty for motorists who use their phones while driving. Currently there is an AED 200 fine and four black points. However it has been recommended that the penalty should be increased to AED 1,000, 12 black points and confiscation of the car for 30 days. In 2015, an average of 136 residents per day in Dubai were caught using their phone while driving. The number of people caught on radar using their phone was 140. Other findings by Dubai Police included:

  • In 2015 there were 49,643 cases of people using their phones while driving. This is an increase from 2014 which had 45,499 cases.
  • The number of complaints filed was 1, 216 in 2015, compared to 946 in 2014.