Dubai non-oil trade rises 7% in first quarter of 2019
The non-oil foreign trade reached Dh339 billion compared to Dh316 billion recorded in the first quarter last year.
Propelled by a 30 per cent surge in export value, Dubai's foreign trade recorded seven per cent year-on-year jump to Dh339 billion in the first quarter, in spite of heavy headwinds posed by challenging macro and geopolitical environment.
Dubai's top three traditional trade partners - China, India and the US - maintained their ranking in terms of value as thriving trade in gold, jewellery and precious stones and mobile phones drove the value of trade in the quarter.
Data released by Dubai Customs showed that such an upswing in non-oil trade was achieved on the back of a robust rebound in both exports and re-exports. While exports registered the most growth, rising 30 per cent to reach Dh42 billion, re-exports grew 7 per cent to Dh106 billion as imports went up by four per cent to reach Dh190 billion.
In volumes, trade increased by 32 per cent to 28 million tonnes from 21 million tonnes in the same 2018 quarter as export volumes rose by 94 per cent to six million tonnes while re-exports surged 41 per cent to four million tonnes and imports rose 16 per cent to 17 million tonnes.
"This robust performance and marked growth of Dubai's non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification in alignment with the values and standards outlined in the 50-Year Charter," said Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai.
The Crown Prince said the Dubai Silk Road Strategy supports decades of successful investment in developing the emirate's infrastructure. "In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we are committed to developing our government services so that we can become a world-class model for future governments based on knowledge, innovation and advanced AI applications."
Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman and CEO, and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said trade in Dubai rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 with non-oil trade growing 7.3 per cent year-on-year to reach Dh339 billion.
"This strong growth has been delivered despite the challenging macro and geopolitical environment, which further highlights the strength and resilience of the Dubai economy. Importantly, we have seen significant growth in both exports (up 30 per cent) and re-exports (up 7 per cent), which reinforces Dubai's profile as the key hub for the region. Overall, despite geopolitical headwinds, we remain excited about the outlook for Dubai, particularly with the lead up to Expo 2020," said Sulayem.
Nazeer Veliyil, CEO of BorgRolls Warner Middle East, said a remarkable surge in exports and re-exports to other GCC countries and regional markets has been the key driver behind the trade rebound.
"This is a significant achievement given the prevailing geopolitical challenges and the loss of some key traditional re-export markets within the Middle East region. The first quarter trade figures once again underscore Dubai's resilience as a global trade hub," said Veliyil.
Customs data shows that Dubai's non-oil trade grew 58 per cent in the 2010-2019 decade, an increase of Dh124 billion from first quarter 2010 which registered a trade value of Dh215 billion.
Trade through free zones reached Dh147 billion (up 20 per cent year on year). Direct trade was the largest contributor to total trade at Dh189 billion (-0.5 per cent) and customs warehousing accounted for Dh2.3 billion (down 21 per cent).
Air and sea trade accounted for 85 per cent of the total trade, with both witnessing double-digit increases. Air trade accounted for Dh158 billion (up 11 per cent) and sea trade recorded Dh129 billion (up 10 per cent). Trade by land reached Dh52 billion.
Bharat Bhatia, CEO of Conares, said this is an endorsement that Dubai is on the right path of growth with significant results of its strategies of economic diversification.
"Efficiently connecting international markets, Dubai is steadily established itself as a leading global and regional hub of trade activities. We believe in the future of Dubai with strong values and standards outlined for its vision for the next 10 years and beyond," he said.
Trade with Asia, the largest trading region for Dubai, increased by 7 per cent to Dh208 billion. Trade with Europe, the second largest partner, touched Dh58 billion. Africa witnessed the biggest growth, rising 36 per cent to reach Dh42 billion. Americas and Oceania also contributed with high single digit growth, up 7 per cent (Dh27 billion) and 9 per cent (Dh3.5 billion) respectively.
Strong growth was witnessed across the top three trading partners. The top three trading countries by value remained the same as first quarter 2018. The biggest trading partner was China, followed by India and the USA, respectively contributing Dh36 billion (up 8 per cent), Dh33 billion (up 40 per cent) and Dh20 billion (up 10 per cent) to the total value traded in first quarter. Saudi Arabia was the largest trade partner in the Arab world with Dh13.2 billion worth of non-oil trade in first quarter.
The total value of gold, diamonds and jewellery traded through Dubai totalled Dh90 billion in first quarter, an increase of nine per cent year on year. The phones market (Dh42 billion) was the highest contributor and trade in petroleum oils more than doubled from last year at Dh21 billion.
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