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UAE Central Bank prepares to introduce discount window

posted on 14/03/2013: 1281 views

The UAE Central Bank said on Wednesday that preparations to introduce a discount window were proceeding, though it declined to specify when the facility would be ready.

Last September, the central bank announced it would develop its monetary policy framework by launching a discount window to enable banks to borrow intra-day and overnight funds.

On Wednesday, central bank governor Sultan Nasser Al Suwaidi said: "It takes time of course to make studies and put systems. We are on track.”

Asked whether the window might open this year, he told reporters on the sidelines of a regional central bankers' meeting in Bahrain: "I cannot give you any date. It is not only regulations, it is computer systems. So you have to develop the right computer systems...that take different currencies into consideration.”

In January last year, the UAE signed a three-year currency swap agreement with China worth Dh20 billion dirhams ($5.5 billion) to boost two-way trade and investment.

Foreign reserves

Asked whether the UAE was considering holding part of its foreign reserves in Yuan, in line with the growing international use of the Chinese currency, Al Suwaidi said:

"It is also on track. We are studying different issues related to the swap agreement, and of course we are looking at the experiences of other countries like Asian countries that have these agreements with the Chinese.” He did not elaborate.

A senior central bank official said the apex bank must act this year to push forward previously issued rules and policies, a senior central bank official said on Wednesday.

Three times over the past year, the central bank has imposed regulations to limit risk at UAE commercial banks, but then backed off from enforcing them after complaints from the banks.

In January, it said it would not enforce curbs on residential mortgage loans as a proportion of property values that it had set three weeks earlier. Last year it announced rules limiting banks' exposure to state-linked borrowers, and rules requiring them to hold a certain ratio of their assets in the form of liquid instruments; both initiatives were suspended in December after discussions with banks.


But Saeed Abdullah Al Hamiz, assistant central bank governor for banking supervision, said on Wednesday that the central bank needed to move ahead with its regulation.

"For all policies issued, this year we must take action,” he said on the sidelines of a regional central bankers' meeting in Bahrain.

Al Hamiz said the central bank was still discussing the rule on exposure to state debt with commercial banks: "We are discussing it with the industry and we will see. I think it is important that we do not delay it.”

Asked whether debt exposure rules and the mortgage caps might be implemented by the end of the year, he replied: "I think sooner for all issues. Actually we are doing it now. We are discussing it. Now within the central bank and soon with the banks.” – Gulf News


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