Oil-rich Gulf states are having to act to counter the global financial crisis. The world’s biggest oil-exporter, Saudi Arabia has slashed interest rates for an unprecedented third time since October. The Central Bank has had to cut a key rate by 100 basis points to 3 per cent, to keep credit markets moving. And the UAE has had to intervene in a major property merger. After five years of boom, the country’s property sector is seeing plummeting values and finance drying up.