Dubai trade bucks global slowdown trend
Dubai's non-oil foreign trade rose to Dh676 billion in the first half of 2019 from Dh644 billion in the corresponding period last year.
Dubai - Emirate on track to become one of the world's foremost trading hubs: Sheikh Hamdan
Dubai's economy has once again showed its resilience by posting a 5 per cent year-on-year increase in non-oil trade during the January-June 2019 period due to a flexible business model and the ability to adapt to change that helped offset the impact of a slowdown in the global economy.
Latest data released by Dubai Customs on Saturday reflects the emirate's strong competitiveness and trade-friendly polices as the global trade faces headwinds amidst the US-China trade war, geopolitical tensions and a volatile crude oil market.
Dubai's non-oil foreign trade rose to Dh676 billion in the first half of 2019 from Dh644 billion in the corresponding period last year. China remained the largest trading partner and trade with India registered a strong 20 per cent growth, official data showed.
Exports rose 17 per cent to Dh76 billion while re-exports were up 3 per cent at Dh210 billion. Imports grew 4 per cent to Dh390 billion.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, said the strong performance of foreign trade reflects the emirate's ability to generate fresh growth opportunities even in an adverse global economic environment.
"Dubai's flexibility, ability to adapt to change and its responsiveness to the needs of businesses and investors have made it a model for sustainable growth. the latest results also point to Dubai's rapidly-growing trading links with the world's fastest growing economies. As the Dubai Silk Road project begins to take shape, the outlook for the emirate's foreign trade is set to get even better," Sheikh Hamdan said.
On Tuesday, the World Trade Organization sharply downgraded global trade growth forecasts for 2019 and 2020 due to escalating trade tensions and a slowing global economy, which will severely hamper job creation worldwide.
It lowered its growth forecast for 2019 to 1.2 per cent from 2.6 per cent in its previous report released in April. For 2020, the WTO downgraded growth from 3 per cent to 2.7 per cent.
Trade from Dubai's free zones accounted for Dh287 billion, an increase of 12 per cent. Trade by land saw an increase at Dh114 billion (up 8 per cent), while air accounted for Dh311 billion (up 3 per cent) and sea trade recorded Dh252 billion (up 6 per cent).
"Undoubtedly, these are challenging times with the global trade war and regional geopolitical tensions causing uncertainty and despite this backdrop, Dubai has delivered non-oil trade growth of five per cent in the first half of 2019 to Dh676 billion. With the continued upward trend of the foreign trade sector, we have reasons to be positive about the future of our national economy," said Sultan bin Sulayem, group chairman of DP World and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.
"The strong growth delivered by non-oil foreign trade is a healthy sign of how resilient and appealing the Dubai economy is, which further reinforces Dubai's profile as a key regional and international trading hub," he added.
Among the top trading partners of Dubai, China topped the list with non-oil trade growing 4 per cent to Dh71 billion. Trade with India rose 20 per cent to Dh67 billion; a 1 per cent decline with the US to Dh39 billion was witnessed.
Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai's largest Arab and GCC trade partner and fourth globally with Dh27.7 billion. Switzerland came fifth at Dh26.5 billion.
Nimish Makvana, president of the Indian Business and Professional Council, said that in the last five years, Indian and UAE leadership have played a significant role through bilateral visits and signing of agreement in different sectors such as energy, infrastructure, power and service, among several others, for the growth of economies.
"Bilateral trade volume between the two nations is growing and it'll go up," he said, adding that the geographic location of the emirate is very strategic and after the implementation of value-added tax, business houses here are settled very well and long-term perspective is going in a very positive direction.
"Trust and confidence on the economy and the trade will grow further because there are a lot of expectations from 2020 and we see that momentum has already started."
Official data showed that gold, jewellery and diamonds trade grew 3 per cent to Dh180 billion while telecom was the second-largest contributor with Dh79 billion trade and trade in petroleum oils more than doubled to at Dh48 billion. Automobiles accounted for Dh33 billion of the total trade.