Dubai ranks No. 5 globally in economic performance

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Dubai ranks No. 5 globally in economic performance

Abu Dhabi and four other GCC cities also figured in the list of 300 world cities in the annual 2014 economic rankings of cities worldwide.

By Issac John (associate Business Editor)

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Published: Fri 23 Jan 2015, 11:36 PM

Last updated: Fri 26 Jun 2015, 12:11 AM

Dubai —Dubai ranks number five in performance among 300 world cities in the annual 2014 economic rankings of cities worldwide released on Thursday by the Brookings Institution and JPMorgan Chase.
Macau, the Chinese territory known for its liberal leisure activities, outperformed the rest of the world’s major cities economically last year, while four Turkish cities ranked among the top ten.

Abu Dhabi and four other GCC cities also figured in the list.

While Macau recorded a gross domestic product, or GDP, growth of eight per cent and employment growth of 4.2 per cent, Dubai posted 4.5 per cent GDP growth and 4.7 per cent employment growth.

Cities in the developing world, especially China, dominated the top of the annual economic rankings. One exception: Bangkok, Thailand, came in last, its economy wrecked by political strife.

Four Turkish cities made the top 10: Izmir, Istanbul, Bursa and Ankara. Turkish cities boomed last year despite political unrest. “If you look at world headlines, Turkey is not in the news for its economic success, but it probably should be,” Brookings’ Parilla said. “It has pretty solid macroeconomic policies.”

Turkey benefits from its location at the boundary between Europe and Asia and from heavy investment in roads and other infrastructure projects, which creates jobs over the short term and is likely to make the economy more efficient over the long term.

Macau has enjoyed a tourism boom, with gamblers coming to bet at more than 30 casinos, including the Venetian Macau, the world’s largest.

In India, Delhi ranked number 18, while Kolkata ranked 32. Surprisingly Mumbai was ranked as low as 52 in the worldwide rankings.

Cities in wealthy, developed countries tended to lag behind. Though most of the cities surveyed around the world have recovered from the Great Recession, 65 per cent of European and 57 per cent of North American cities have not, according to the study, which ranks cities by growth in employment and in economic output per person.

Joseph Parilla, a Brookings research analyst who co-wrote the report, said he was surprised by the “incredible differentiation within what are considered monolithic economic blocs.” Latin American cities, for instance, mostly sputtered. But Medellin, Colombia, and Lima, Peru, both broke into the top 50.

Cities in wealthy countries tended to perform poorly. But US and British cities showed improvement. Three US cities — Austin and Houston, Texas, and Raleigh, North Carolina — cracked the top 50. In the United Kingdom, London came in No. 26, Manchester No. 60.

The US and Britain have begun to pick up economic momentum five-and-a-half years after the recession ended.

“In developed economies like North America and Western Europe, cities like London and Houston are flying high, while others like Rotterdam and Montreal are struggling,” Parilla said.

Twenty-seven of the 50 top-performing cities were Chinese. Increasingly, strong growth occurred in the traditionally underdeveloped cities of China’s interior, rather than its booming coastal cities. Land-locked Changsha, for instance, enjoyed economic growth per person of 8.6 per cent last year and wound up No. 15 in the overall rankings.

The coastal manufacturing powerhouse of Dongguan, next door to Hong Kong, registered per-capita economic growth of just 5.2 per cent (unimpressive by Chinese standards) and finished No. 70. Companies have begun to move inland as the cost of labour and land rises on the Chinese coast. And the Chinese government has invested heavily on infrastructure in the interior.

The 18 cities worldwide that specialised in producing commodities such as oil registered the highest rates of growth in economic output per person (2.6 per cent) and employment (1.9 per cent).

“The recent rise in oil and gas production in North America partly explains the success of metropolitan areas like Calgary, Denver, Houston, and Tulsa, which are epicenters of the region’s shale revolution,” the report said.

Next year’s rankings may be different. Oil prices have plunged to less than $48 a barrel from $107 a barrel last June, jeopardizing the prospects of cities that had been riding the energy boom.

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