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The United Arab Emirates Banks Federation agreed on measures to help small- and medium-sized businesses struggling with loan repayments amid an economic slowdown and debt laws that can lead to people fleeing the country to avoid punishment for defaulting.People in the SME sector may have left behind 5 billion dirhams ($1.36 billion) of loans last year, Abdul Aziz al-Ghurair, Chief Executive Officer of Mashreqbank PSC and chairman of the UAE Banks Federation said in November.Banks in the United Arab Emirates had focused on boosting loans to SMEs as they could typically charge higher interest rates than lending to large corporations.The three-month Emirates Interbank Offered Rate, a benchmark used to price loans, has risen more than 50 percent over the past 12 months to 1.03443 percent.
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