Dubai’s non-oil exports to soar 36% in 2011, 2012

DUBAI - Dubai’s non-oil exports may jump 36 per cent in 2011 and grow at the same pace next year, boosted by political stability and new trade with East Africa and Central Asia, a government official said.

By Martina Fuchs (Reuters)

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Published: Fri 25 Nov 2011, 11:45 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 5:20 AM

The emirate saw economic output decline by 2.4 per cent in 2009 after the global financial crisis hit the property sector. Its economy expanded by 2.8 per cent last year.

Dubai is seen benefitting from political stability, growing tourism to its landmarks such as the world’s tallest tower Burj Khalifa or an indoor ski slope, and new emerging trade partners.

Saed Al Awadi, chief executive of the Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC), said he expects exports to grow 36 per cent in 2011.

“Next year, (exports) will be within the same figure which is 36 per cent, it will continue as good as this year’s growth,” he told Reuters on the sidelines of an exporters forum.

“Our non-oil exports in the first half of 2011 are 36 per cent higher than in 2010, from Dh33 billion ($8.99 billion) to Dh45 billion,” Awadi said.

Last year, he forecast Dubai’s non-oil exports, which account for around 13 per cent of the overall trade flows, would grow 20 per cent in 2011.

However, with the eurozone debt crisis and a slowdown in China set to hurt growth wordwide next year, the country’s economy may see some slowdown.

“Given the difficult global economic outlook next year and our expectation of significantly lower growth in trade volumes, I wouldn’t expect to see the pace of increase match that of this year,” said Simon Williams, chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC.

Dubai’s central geographic location, airport and seaport infrastructure, business environment and political stability were driving exports growth, Awadi said.

“We are developing new markets including East Africa and Central Asia, these are the two new markets for 2012,” he said.

Trade with conventional markets such as India, the GCC states, Middle East, North Africa and South Asia would continue to grow, he said.

Imports increased by 21 per cent to Dh214 billion in the first six months of the year, Awadi said, citing data from Dubai Customs.

Re-exports rose to Dh86 billion in the first half of the year from 69 billion in the same period in 2010.

Dubai’s non-oil trade data exclude trade in its free zones. Concerns about Dubai’s liabilities have eased since state-owned firm Dubai World reached a deal last year to restructure almost $25 billion of debt.

Analysts polled by Reuters in September expected the UAE economy to expand by 3.8 per cent in 2011 and at the same pace in 2012 helped by robust oil prices, but the European debt crisis and weak US growth may dent performance next year.

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