For a place where the widespread use of postdated cheques represents a dangerous form of unofficial, unregulated credit expansion; and bouncing such cheques is a criminal offense (interesting comments at the foot of this TimeOut Dubai piece) it is painfully ironic that the Emirate now requests a little understanding on a cultural more as sensitive as that of the importance of honouring one's obligations.

Barclays Capital will certainly wonder about Fate's sharp gag writers. A scant 3 weeks ago they considered Dubai sovereign debt "attractively priced at current levels". Well, it's an even bigger bargain today (excluding insurance costs described by some as "overblown").

Barclays, along with Credit Suisse, Lloyds, HSBC (seen last month describing the debt liabilities of related Dubai government companies as "reasonable"), Royal Bank of Scotland and Deutsche Bank, is one of the lenders caught in the dilemma of finding a way through potential losses whilst maintaining precious (for future business) relational ties. And talking its own book does not seem to have done the trick.

In sum, this might prove a story just getting started as both the US Thanksgiving and Islamic Eid al-Adha breaks guarantee that matters marinate until next week.

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