UAE non-oil trade to see 12.9% growth in 2021

Muzaffar Rizvi/Dubai
Filed on January 23, 2021
Non-oil maritime trade currently accounts for 83% of UAE’s total non-oil trade. — File photo

Dubai Chamber analysis points to expected recovery in UAE non-oil maritime transport and trade this year, supported by several positive global economic trends.

The UAE non-oil trade will post strong double-digit growth up to 12.9 per cent this year due to an expected uptick in maritime transport activity and other positive global economic trends, latest report shows.

Government policies and stimulus efforts, easing of lockdowns in key markets, the opening of global markets and China’s resumption of commercial activity were also outlined as key factors that could positively impact the UAE’s trade performance in the second half of 2020, according to new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The analysis based on recent data from the IMF, the UAE’s Federal Customs Authority and UNCTAD, projected 4.8 per cent growth in global maritime transport and trade this year, depending on developments in fighting Covid-19 and progress in vaccinating populations around the world.

“Trade activity has been more resilient throughout the pandemic, with spending shifting towards goods and away from services. The global accommodative policy backdrop should also remain supportive,” Monica Malik, chief economist at Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), told Khaleej Times on Saturday.

UAE non-oil trade showed strong resilience in the face of economic obstacles in 2018 and 2019, as it recorded growth rates of 8.5 per cent and 13 per cent, respectively during those years, while maritime trade accounted for 83 per cent of total goods traded.

Nazim Munshi, director, Enterprise House, said UAE is expected to see a V-shape recovery in 2021. This is a conscious effort by the government of UAE to ensure that the economy is back on track at the earliest.

"Dubai and UAE are among the few states that have been extremely proactive to fight the pandemic and bring back the conducive business environment, the current vaccination drive is one such measure were UAE will be among one of the First Nations to have a near complete population vaccination for all its residents," she said.

Changing market dynamics

The forecast comes after international maritime trade recorded a 4.1 per cent drop in 2020 due to economic headwinds created by the pandemic, which included travel restrictions and the disruption of supply chains, consumption patterns and manufacturing activities.

The UNCTAD data also indicated that many companies in the trade and shipping sector have already begun to evaluate options on how to ensure preparedness with the expected reconfiguration of supply chains due to the impact of the pandemic.

This includes investment in warehousing and warehousing, adopting advanced technologies and diversifying supply sources, which have become crucial for ensuring adequate inventory and maintaining operations.


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