01 April 2017

Gulf Industry Magazine helps you catch up with the numbers behind economic and industrial developments in the region.

Saudi private sector growth picks up

SAUDI ARABIA’S non-oil private sector saw a further pick up in growth momentum in February, with business conditions improving at the quickest rate since August 2015, a survey said.

Both output and new orders rose sharply in February, with the rate of expansion in the latter picking up to an 18-month high. Subsequently, firms raised their input buying at a steep pace to accommodate higher output and due to projections of further improvements in market demand in the coming months, said the Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index.

Despite the robust upturn in new work, the rate of job creation remained only slight, however. On the price front, ongoing cost pressures led firms to raise their output charges for the fourth consecutive month. The survey, sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by IHS Markit, contains original data collected from a monthly survey of business conditions in the Saudi private sector.

Commenting on the Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia PMITM, Khatija Haque, head of Mena research at Emirates NBD, said: “Faster output and new orders were the main driver behind the higher PMI reading in February, signalling faster growth in the non-oil private sector last month.  However this has yet to translate into increased employment in the sector.  Nevertheless, firms appear to be relatively optimistic about prospects for the coming year.”

The key findings pointed out: output continues to rise sharply; new order growth reaches 18-month record; and output charges increase only modestly, despite stronger rise in input costs.


Dubai non-oil foreign trade hits $347bn

DUBAI’S non-oil foreign trade in 2016 reached Dh1.276 trillion ($347 billion), rising 70 per cent from Dh754 billion in 2009, said Crown Prince of Dubai Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

“We have achieved this growth despite the world credit crunch in 2008 that hit the world’s economies. The achievement underscores the emirate’s strong standing in the global trading landscape,” added Sheikh Hamdan, who’s also the chairman of the Dubai Executive Council.

Imports took the lion’s share at Dh803 billion, while re-exports and exports accounted for Dh330 billion and Dh143 billion respectively. While China maintained its position as Dubai’s leading trading partner with Dh166 billion in two-way trade (13 per cent of total trade), India came second at Dh94 billion (7.4 per cent of total trade), followed by the US at Dh86 billion (6.7 per cent of total trade).

Saudi Arabia maintained its position as the top Arab and GCC trading partner and fourth globally with Dh52 billion (4.1 per cent) of total trade. Germany stood fifth at Dh50 billion (3.9 per cent of total trade).

Sheikh Hamdan said Dubai was able to diversify its foreign trade despite fluctuations in international trade in 2016, the slump in global markets and the decline in basic commodity prices. He pointed out that the economic diversification strategies of Dubai and the UAE are achieving their goals, underscoring the country’s economic resilience and its ability to adapt to fluctuations in international markets.


French cream imports to the UAE up by 10pc

FRENCH cream exports to the UAE are expected to increase by 10 per cent this year, according to the latest research by the French Dairy Board.

The UAE is seen as a key developing market for the industry and imported 2,000 tonnes of French cream in 2016, although this is behind China, which is top importer with 15,000 tonnes annually. Saudi Arabia stands at 5,000 tonnes imported annually. It comes amid an increasing proliferation of French chefs operating in the country and a growing popularity of French cream in the service industry and retail outlets due to its undisputed taste and quality.

Laurent Damiens, communication director, Centre National Interprofessionel de l’Economie Laitière (CNIEL), said: “It’s a huge market in the UAE, not only in business to business, which takes up 75 per cent of imports, but retail currently accounts for 25 per cent and this is growing more and more as people are increasingly using cream in their recipes, not just for pastries, but in their general cooking.”


UAE non-oil exports hits $35bn in nine months

THE UAE’s non-oil exports during the first nine months of 2016 rose to Dh128.7 billion ($35 billion), up 5.6 per cent over Dh121.8 billion ($33 billion) the previous year, state news agency WAM reported.

The value of national non-oil commodity exports increased by around Dh6.9 billion during the nine-month period, said the report, citing data from Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Authority (FCSA).

The total value of the UAE’s foreign trade for first nine months surged 2.8 per cent to hit Dh813.7 billion, compared to Dh791.6 billion for the same period in 2015, it added.

According to FCSA, the imports represented a large percentage of the country’s non-oil trade with the outside world, with the data indicating that its value reached Dh520.9 billion in the first nine months compared to Dh503.6 billion during the same period in 2015. As for the total size of commercial trade till September 2016, the data states that Asian non-Arab countries took first place in terms of the value of commercial trade, totalling Dh328.7 billion, or 40.4 per cent of the total of the value of the country’s external trade.

The total trade value with GCC countries surged to Dh73.4 billion, up 9 per cent over the country’s total foreign trade, compared to Dh79.1 billion during the same period of 2015, it added.


Dubai private sector growth stays robust

FEBRUARY data signalled a further improvement in overall business conditions across Dubai’s private sector economy, underpinned by sharp rises in output and incoming new work, with the growth of the latter picking up to a 24-month high, a report said.

At 56.2 in February, the seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index – a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – registered above the crucial 50.0 threshold for the 12th month in succession. The latest reading was down from January’s 23-month high of 57.1, but was above the series average (55.1).

Wholesale and retail was the best performing category for the first time in six months (index at 58.3), followed by travel and tourism (index at 57.0). Meanwhile, construction companies recorded a slowdown in growth momentum during February, with the headline index down to 53.3, from 55.4 at the start of the year, it said. A reading of below 50.0 indicates that the non-oil private sector economy is generally declining; above 50.0, that it is generally expanding. A reading of 50.0 signals no change.

The survey covers the Dubai non-oil private sector economy, with additional sector data published for travel and tourism, wholesale and retail and construction.

More Stories