Gary Clement for The National
Gary Clement for The National

UAE expats need to tighten belts in these financially challenging times



"More one-way tickets out of the UAE come next summer." This would be my prediction if I were the crystal ball gazing type.
But I'm not. I like to think my views are based more on fact than fiction - and I still say that more people will be leaving the UAE over the course of the next 12 months. If you don't want to be one of them, then belt-tightening is the order of these times.
Signs of cutbacks are all around us - a neighbour is just back from two weeks of unpaid leave. He works for an iconic Dubai-based outfit and is one of the lucky ones, having survived the first round of a staff cull. Employees are being made redundant elsewhere in the UAE too.
My vet, a great barometer for various things, says he is seeing a repeat of behaviour that came about in 2009 - kennels have been booked out over the past few years, with summer residents being deposited as early as the end of May and picked up about a week before school starts. This summer however, pets were left at the end of the school year, only to be picked up after about 10 days, with another bookings spike during the last 10 days or so of the holiday period.
We can only speculate, but I am of the thinking that this is because people are reluctant - or not able - to take a big chunk of time off over the summer for fear of losing jobs, or because they are taking on the workload of recently fired colleagues. The employed are going for the start or the end of the summer holidays to accompany their family on at least one leg of their trip.
My vet also reported more people abandoning pets because they had lost their job and had to leave the UAE.
Are you concerned about this? Many are - two out of ten in a recent survey said that losing their job was their biggest fear.
And what about the current price of oil - does this worry you? It should. It is true that only a small number of us expatriates work in the oil industry, but we're all dependent on it. This week the cost of a barrel dipped to its lowest level since 2009. After eight consecutive weeks of losses, oil is in what is considered red flag territory - so named because it could lead to more economic and social unrest across the oil-producing world. This is already in full swing in Ecuador, where the government started the year with a US$1.42 billion cut to the budget, and this month announced it was having to find another $800m in savings. Its oil revenue has been nearly halved since last year.
Closer to home, keeping the economy afloat is why Saudi Arabia is borrowing in the financial markets - selling bonds - for the first time since 2007.
So how are things here in the UAE? I am approaching it purely from our punter perspective:
Dreaded inflation is at its highest level since 2009 - and we all know that we're paying more for a tank full of Special 95. Little wonder then that restaurant owners tell me patrons have been cutting back on spending. This has been the case since the start of this year, and will probably become more acute as the months march on.
My own personal hit in the financial gut was an email sent out just as summer kicked in stating that the cost of renewing my company licence was more than doubling, with immediate effect. Ouch.
It is nigh impossible to budget intelligently when this sort of thing comes out of nowhere, and so the key to survival is to simply cut back on spending in general and make sure the emergency fund is well stocked.
Perhaps the IMF's warning to Arabian Gulf states will help you focus your mind.
At the start of the year, the IMF advised Gulf countries to cut state-funded jobs and say no to salary increases. It further downgraded growth in the UAE in April, and this month is continuing to recommend spending cuts and taxation. If anyone's for the chop, it makes sense that expatriates would be the first to go.
I will end with the official reasons for this month's hike at petrol pumps here.
To "rationalise consumption" is how the Undersecretary for the Ministry of Energy and chairman of the Fuel Price Committee, Dr Matar Al Nyadi, put it. I really like that line. His and the committee's priority is supporting the national economy, lowering fuel consumption, protecting the environment and preserving national resources.
All admirable things.
How about you take a leaf from this book and lower your consumption - generally - and protect your own resources. Simply put, get that belt tightened if you want to be around to enjoy the sunshine come next year.
Nima Abu Wardeh is the founder of the personal finance website cashy.me. You can reach her at nima@cashy.me and find her on Twiiter at @nimaabuwardeh

The story of Edge

Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, established Edge in 2019.

It brought together 25 state-owned and independent companies specialising in weapons systems, cyber protection and electronic warfare.

Edge has an annual revenue of $5 billion and employs more than 12,000 people.

Some of the companies include Nimr, a maker of armoured vehicles, Caracal, which manufactures guns and ammunitions company, Lahab

 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

NATIONAL SELECTIONS

6.00pm: Heros de Lagarde
6.35pm: City Walk
7.10pm: Mimi Kakushi
7.45pm: New Kingdom
8.20pm: Siskany
8.55pm: Nations Pride
9.30pm: Ever Given

No Shame

Lily Allen

(Parlophone)

TWISTERS

Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

The Laughing Apple

Yusuf/Cat Stevens

(Verve Decca Crossover)

ETFs explained

Exhchange traded funds are bought and sold like shares, but operate as index-tracking funds, passively following their chosen indices, such as the S&P 500, FTSE 100 and the FTSE All World, plus a vast range of smaller exchanges and commodities, such as gold, silver, copper sugar, coffee and oil.

ETFs have zero upfront fees and annual charges as low as 0.07 per cent a year, which means you get to keep more of your returns, as actively managed funds can charge as much as 1.5 per cent a year.

There are thousands to choose from, with the five biggest providers BlackRock’s iShares range, Vanguard, State Street Global Advisors SPDR ETFs, Deutsche Bank AWM X-trackers and Invesco PowerShares.

ROUTE TO TITLE

Round 1: Beat Leolia Jeanjean 6-1, 6-2
Round 2: Beat Naomi Osaka 7-6, 1-6, 7-5
Round 3: Beat Marie Bouzkova 6-4, 6-2
Round 4: Beat Anastasia Potapova 6-0, 6-0
Quarter-final: Beat Marketa Vondrousova 6-0, 6-2
Semi-final: Beat Coco Gauff 6-2, 6-4
Final: Beat Jasmine Paolini 6-2, 6-2

SPECS: Polestar 3

Engine: Long-range dual motor with 400V battery
Power: 360kW / 483bhp
Torque: 840Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic
Max touring range: 628km
0-100km/h: 4.7sec
Top speed: 210kph
Price: From Dh360,000
On sale: September

MATCH INFO

Syria v Australia
2018 World Cup qualifying: Asia fourth round play-off first leg
Venue: Hang Jebat Stadium (Malacca, Malayisa)
Kick-off: Thursday, 4.30pm (UAE)
Watch: beIN Sports HD

* Second leg in Australia scheduled for October 10

SPEC SHEET: APPLE IPHONE 15 PRO MAX

Display: 6.7" Super Retina XDR OLED, 2796 x 1290, 460ppi, 120Hz, 2000 nits max, HDR, True Tone, P3, always-on

Processor: A17 Pro, 6-core CPU, 6-core GPU, 16-core Neural Engine

Memory: 8GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB

Platform: iOS 17

Main camera: Triple: 48MP main (f/1.78) + 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 12MP 5x telephoto (f/2.8); 5x optical zoom in, 2x optical zoom out; 10x optical zoom range, digital zoom up to 25x; Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting

Main camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, HD @ 30fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 60fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Front camera: 12MP TrueDepth (f/1.9), Photonic Engine, Deep Fusion, Smart HDR 4, Portrait Lighting; Animoji, Memoji

Front camera video: 4K @ 24/25/30/60fps, full-HD @ 25/30/60fps, slo-mo @ 120/240fps, ProRes (4K) @ 30fps; night, time lapse, cinematic, action modes; Dolby Vision, 4K HDR

Battery: 4441mAh, up to 29h video, 25h streaming video, 95h audio; fast charge to 50% in 30min (with at least 20W adaptor); MagSafe, Qi wireless charging

Connectivity: Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Apple Pay), second-generation Ultra Wideband chip

Biometrics: Face ID

I/O: USB-C

Durability: IP68, water-resistant up to 6m up to 30min; dust/splash-resistant

Cards: Dual eSIM / eSIM + eSIM (US models use eSIMs only)

Colours: Black titanium, blue titanium, natural titanium, white titanium

In the box: iPhone 15 Pro Max, USB-C-to-USB-C woven cable, one Apple sticker

Price: Dh5,099 / Dh5,949 / Dh6,799

COMPANY PROFILE

Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside

Dirham Stretcher tips for having a baby in the UAE

Selma Abdelhamid, the group's moderator, offers her guide to guide the cost of having a young family:

• Buy second hand stuff

 They grow so fast. Don't get a second hand car seat though, unless you 100 per cent know it's not expired and hasn't been in an accident.

• Get a health card and vaccinate your child for free at government health centres

 Ms Ma says she discovered this after spending thousands on vaccinations at private clinics.

• Join mum and baby coffee mornings provided by clinics, babysitting companies or nurseries.

Before joining baby classes ask for a free trial session. This way you will know if it's for you or not. You'll be surprised how great some classes are and how bad others are.

• Once baby is ready for solids, cook at home

Take the food with you in reusable pouches or jars. You'll save a fortune and you'll know exactly what you're feeding your child.

The burning issue

The internal combustion engine is facing a watershed moment – major manufacturer Volvo is to stop producing petroleum-powered vehicles by 2021 and countries in Europe, including the UK, have vowed to ban their sale before 2040. The National takes a look at the story of one of the most successful technologies of the last 100 years and how it has impacted life in the UAE. 

Read part four: an affection for classic cars lives on

Read part three: the age of the electric vehicle begins

Read part two: how climate change drove the race for an alternative 

Pakistanis at the ILT20

The new UAE league has been boosted this season by the arrival of five Pakistanis, who were not released to play last year.

Shaheen Afridi (Desert Vipers)
Set for at least four matches, having arrived from New Zealand where he captained Pakistan in a series loss.

Shadab Khan (Desert Vipers)
The leg-spin bowling allrounder missed the tour of New Zealand after injuring an ankle when stepping on a ball.

Azam Khan (Desert Vipers)
Powerhouse wicketkeeper played three games for Pakistan on tour in New Zealand. He was the first Pakistani recruited to the ILT20.

Mohammed Amir (Desert Vipers)
Has made himself unavailable for national duty, meaning he will be available for the entire ILT20 campaign.

Imad Wasim (Abu Dhabi Knight Riders)
The left-handed allrounder, 35, retired from international cricket in November and was subsequently recruited by the Knight Riders.

The Bio

Amal likes watching Japanese animation movies and Manga - her favourite is The Ancient Magus Bride

She is the eldest of 11 children, and has four brothers and six sisters.

Her dream is to meet with all of her friends online from around the world who supported her work throughout the years

Her favourite meal is pizza and stuffed vine leaves

She ams to improve her English and learn Japanese, which many animated programmes originate in