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F&B value crosses $20b as UAE non-oil trade posts 27% surge

The steady growth of UAE’s F&B exports indicates that the country’s food manufacturing sector is maturing, developing and supporting the national food security agenda. —Supplied photo
The steady growth of UAE’s F&B exports indicates that the country’s food manufacturing sector is maturing, developing and supporting the national food security agenda. —Supplied photo

The growing momentum behind the UAE’s F&B trade reflects the country’s successful efforts and initiatives implemented to diversify import and export markets.



by

Issac John

Published: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 6:56 PM

Last updated: Mon 14 Feb 2022, 8:06 PM

Food and beverage trade recorded a value of over $20 billion in the first nine months of 2021 as the non-oil foreign trade posted a 27 per cent surge in the first half, data from the Dubai Chamber of Commerce shows.

The surge in F&B trade was driven by growing demand and expanded efforts to enhance food security and diversify food imports, Hassan Al Hashemi, vice-president, International Relations, Dubai Chamber of Commerce, said at a briefing on the sidelines of Gulfood 2022 in Dubai. The event was attended by Saleh Abdullah Lootah, chairman of the UAE Food and Beverage Manufacturers Group, and 200 participants from 48 countries.

The growing momentum behind the UAE’s F&B trade reflects the country’s successful efforts and initiatives implemented to diversify import and export markets, Al Hashemi said.

India, the second-largest trade partner of the Emirates, was its top F&B trading partner in the first nine months of 2021, as the country accounted for 12 per cent of its total F&B trade value, followed by the US (7.0 per cent) Brazil (6.0 per cent) Australia (5.0 per cent), Canada (5.0 per cent) and Saudi Arabia (5.0 per cent). Imported fruits and nuts accounted for the largest proportion of the UAE’s imports of food and beverages (13 per cent), followed by meat (11 per cent) dairy products (10 per cent) and oilseeds (7.0 per cent).

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade for the whole 2021 is projected to record a higher growth rate than the pace of surge registered during the first six months on the back of a robust global recovery from Covid-19 being witnessed in the second half of the year, trade analysts said.

In the first six months of 2021, the total value of the UAE’s non-oil foreign trade jumped to $245 billion, marking a 27 per cent rise compared to H1 2020 and indicating a rapid recovery in the country’s return to a growth trajectory.

Trade analysts at Fitch Solutions forecast the UAE’s current account surplus to increase from 5.8 per cent of GDP in 2020 to 7.7 per cent of GDP in 2021 and 7.9 per cent of GDP in 2022.

According to United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (Unctad), The record surge in the UAE’s foreign trade in the first half of 2021 surpasses the global trend. In the third quarter of 2021, global trade, which was battered by the pandemic, hit a record high and is expected to rise 23 per cent to reach $28 trillion for the full year.

Imports accounted for the largest share of the F&B trade during January-September 2021 period, or $12.8 billion, followed by exports ($4.1 billion) and re-exports ($3.3 billion). From 2011 to 2020, the UAE’s F&B imports, exports and re-exports grew at a CAGR of 0.6 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 6.0 per cent, respectively. Ten markets accounted for about 66 per cent of the UAE’s total exports of food and beverages during the first nine months of 2021, with Saudi Arabia ranking first in this category with a share of 17 per cent, followed by Oman (9.0 per cent), Kuwait (8.0 per cent) and China (5.0 per cent).

Al Hashemi said the steady growth of UAE’s F&B exports indicates that the country’s food manufacturing sector is maturing, developing and supporting the national food security agenda. Dubai, in particular, is leading the way in leveraging technology to advance its F&B sector and address new challenges and market needs, he added.

Chamber data revealed that in 2021 (Q1-Q3) the top 10 product groups accounted for around 76 per cent of UAE’s F&B imports from the world. Fruits and nuts took the largest share of 13 per cent, followed by meat (11 per cent), dairy (10 per cent), oil seeds (7.0 per cent), cereals (7.0 per cent and other edible food products (6.0 per cent). — issacjohn@khaleejtimes.com


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