August 2017

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


Saudi Arabia’s GDP falls in Q1 amid oil slump

SAUDI ARABIA’S gross domestic product (GDP) fell by 0.5 per cent in the first quarter compared to an annual rise of 2.2 per cent for the same period last year, pulled down mainly by the drop in oil prices, according to a report.

However, the non-oil sector grew 0.6 per cent for the same period with the backing from the non-oil private sector which grew 0.9 per cent, said Al Rajhi Capital, a leading provider of financial services in the kingdom, in its report.

The non-oil sector grew 0.6 per cent supported by the non-oil private sector (over 0.9 per cent), while the non-oil government sector contracted marginally (down 0.1 per cent). The oil sector contracted by 2.3 per cent due to the drop in crude oil production, said the report.

Banking sector credit growth slowed down to 0.6 per cent y-o-y (over 0.5 per cent m-o-m). Data till Q1 showed that credit to transport and communication, utilities and health services, commerce and services sectors increased sequentially, while credit to building and construction, mining, government and other sectors decreased.


Dubai Chamber members’ trade hits $40bn

THE Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said its members’ exports and re-exports grew by 6.1 per cent during the first half of 2017 to Dh146.7 billion ($39.9 billion), compared to Dh138.3 billion in the same period of last year.

It added that a total of 8,900 companies joined as members within the first six months of 2017, while it saw its new membership increase by 10.9 per cent year on year.

The Chamber’s total membership reached 210,000 by the end of H1-2017, making it one of the world’s largest membership-based chambers of commerce.

Saudi Arabia was the top export and re-export market for Dubai Chamber members with a value of Dh51.9 billion. This figure reflects an18 per cent growth rate compared to the same period last year (Dh44 billion).

The Chamber issued 465,680 certificates between January and June of this year at a rate of more than 2,500 certificates per day, and issued 69 ATA Carnets for goods worth Dh24,6 million in addition to other value-added services designed to facilitate international trade and improve ease of doing business in Dubai.


Abu Dhabi trade in precious metals tops $4bn

ABU DHABI›S trade in pearl, gemstones and precious metals surged 66 per cent to Dh15.4 billion ($4.19billion) in 2016, compared to Dh9.25 billion in 2015, a report said, citing the Statistics Centre-Abu Dhabi (SCAD).

The growth in the non-oil trade movement across the emirate›s onshore, offshore and air entry points has been attributed by SCAD to a growing increase in local and foreign demand that led to a considerable rise in non-oil exports and re-exports, including pearls and gemstones, reported Wam, the Emirates official news agency.

Dh6.565 billion worth of gemstones, pearl and precious metals re-exports were recorded in 2016 against Dh2.94 billion in 2015.

Analysts expect continued growth in this type of trade, affirming that the UAE has turned to be a major hub for pearl, gemstones and precious metals trade over the past five years.

According to SCAD statistics, pearl, gemstones and precious metals exports hit Dh3.4 billion in 2016, a 1.5 per cent increase from Dh3.35 billion in 2015, with the imports valued at Dh5.42 billion in 2016, an 83 per cent up from Dh2.95 billion in 2015.

The pearl, gemstones and precious metals trade claims 5 per cent of the emirate’s non-oil trade volume, which totalled around Dh309 billion in 2016.


Dubai non-oil foreign trade hits $87bn in Q1

DUBAI’S non-oil foreign trade grew 2.7 per cent to reach Dh327 billion ($87 billion) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2017 compared to Dh318 billion in the same quarter of 2016, according to data published by Dubai Customs.

Commenting on the results, Crown Prince of Dubai and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said: “Dubai has achieved this growth thanks to the guidance of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. Sheikh Mohammed vision for the future along with a number of initiatives such as Dubai 10X, which aims to place Dubai 10 years ahead of all other cities, and the ‘UAE Centennial Plan 2071’ have inspired a series of innovative and creative initiatives that will boost the UAE’s economy.”

“These initiatives also support the goal of ensuring the happiness of people and making Dubai a global leader in many key sectors.

“We seek to enhance the UAE’s competiveness by developing commercial and customs services that bring significant financial benefits for all those that choose Dubai as a hub for their operations,” Sheikh Hamdan added.

Imports accounted for the lion’s share of non-oil foreign trade at Dh201 billion (3 per cent growth) while exports accounted for Dh35 billion and re-exports Dh91 billion (5 per cent growth).

The volume of Dubai’s external non-oil trade reached 24 million tons, while imports reached 15.84 million tonnes, re-exports 4.24 million tons, and exports 3.84 million tons.

Direct trade grew 3.5 per cent to Dh209 billion in the first quarter of 2017, while Free Zone trade accounted for Dh108.5 billion. Customs warehouse trade grew 31 per cent in the first quarter to reach Dh9.1 billion compared to the same period in 2016.

Meanwhile, Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade conducted through land transportation grew 14.7 per cent to reach Dh61 billion in the first quarter while sea trade accounted for Dh118 billion, and air trade reached Dh147.3 growing 1.1 per cent.

Business confidence improves in Dubai in Q3

Business leaders in Dubai are more positive about their expectations of business conditions and business confidence in the third quarter of 2017, according to a new survey conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Business Leaders’ Outlook Survey revealed that 39 per cent of respondents expect to see business conditions improve in Q3-2017.

 Around 43 per cent of surveyed business leaders expected no change in business conditions, while 18 per cent expected conditions to worsen over the same period.

The survey revealed that 45 per cent of business leaders expected business confidence to strengthen in the third quarter of this year, compared to the 37 per cent who predicted no change and 18 per cent who expected confidence to weaken during the quarter. Expectations for access to financing, manpower quality, and access to facilities and infrastructure all saw quarter-on-quarter improvements in Q3-2017. The easing of visa restrictions on Indian, Chinese and Russian tourists was seen by 57 per cent of respondents as having a positive impact on overall business confidence.

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