International banking group Standard Chartered Plc has said it will invest and expand presence in Dubai as the fundamentals of the country’s economy are strong.

Standard Chartered Plc, which has a USD 10 billion wholesale and consumer credit exposure to the country, has reiterated its commitment to Dubai’s economy, bank’s group chief executive Peter Sands said at a conference, adding that the economic situation in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai is improving and the bank is investing to expand its presence in the UAE.

Sands said the bank saw its revenues exceeding USD 1 billion from the emirate in an otherwise challenging 2009.

“We think we are in the right place of the world,” he said, adding that Hong Kong, Singapore, Korea, India and the UAE each delivered an income of over USD 1 billion last year.

The UAE business exposure represents a significant share in the overall scheme of things as the bank’s total balance sheet size is at USD 400 billion.

He said lowering inflation and rentals will boost Dubai’s economy as it will sharpen the competitiveness of the emirate.

The bank’s Middle East and North Africa regional chief executive Shayen Nelson said Standard Chartered continued to lend to customers to fill the gap created by others last year.

In the region, the bank’s revenue grew 25 per cent on expanding businesses, he said.

Nelson said despite troubled economic circumstances last year, Standard Chartered continued to finance the real estate sector and its consumer mortgage loan book grew in the period.

To a question on rescheduling of loans last year, he said they were ‘minimal’

About the 2010 outlook for Abu Dhabi and Dubai, Nelson expected “problems to lessen if not worsen,” as the economic environment is improving.

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