UAE economy grew at 2.9% in 2019, says central bank

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United Arab Emirates, UAE, UAE central bank

Dubai - The IMF expects the UAE economy to expand at 2.5 per cent in 2020.

By Waheed Abbas

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Published: Mon 24 Feb 2020, 1:07 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Feb 2020, 7:33 AM

The UAE economy grew by 2.9 per cent in 2019 as compared to 1.7 per cent in the previous year, mainly driven by growth in the oil sector, the Central Bank said in its fourth-quarter report.
"The overall real GDP is estimated to have grown by 2.9 per cent in 2019, driven by the growth in the non-hydrocarbon sector - estimated at 1.1 per cent and by the hydrocarbon sector for which growth is estimated at 7.6 per cent in 2019. The hydrocarbon sector exhibited significant growth, mainly due to the two-digit growth in condensates and natural gas production," the Central Bank said in the report.
The figures are also higher from its previous estimate of 2.3 per cent GDP growth, which was predicted in the third-quarter. The Central Bank's growth rate for 2019 is also substantially higher than the International Monetary Fund's forecast of 1.6 per cent announced in October 2019.
IMF had revised the UAE's growth outlook downward from 2.8 per cent in April 2019 to 1.6 per cent in October. For 2020, it had cut by 0.8 per cent to 2.5 per cent. The Fund projected a 2.5 per cent growth rate till 2024.
The Central Bank said economic sentiment improved in the fourth quarter of 2019, benefiting from an increase in government spending and increase in oil prices as well as robust performances in labour and credit markets.
The economy grew 1.3 per cent in Q4 2019, moderating compared to the previous quarter, on the back of a slower hydrocarbon growth. However, the non-hydrocarbon GDP growth accelerated in Q42019.
While worker remittances from the UAE fell 2.5 per cent in 2019 to Dh164.9 billion as compared to Dh169.2 billion in the previous year. In the fourth-quarter, remittances from the UAE totalled Dh40.6 billion versus Dh39.9 billion in the same quarter last year.
The top destination country for outward personal remittances during October-December 2019 was India (40.1 per cent), followed by Pakistan (9.9 per cent), Philippines (7.4 per cent), Egypt (5.9 per cent), the US (3.7 per cent) and the UK (3.6 per cent). The growth in remittances is in line with the increase in employment in the UAE during 2019.

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