March 2018

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


UAE tops nine economic indices ranking

THE UAE achieved top rankings across nine economic indices covering economic affairs in a series of recently released global competitiveness reports and indices for 2017 and 2018.

The Ministry of Economy revealed that these achievements are part of its continuing efforts to achieve the set goals of the government’s ‘Number One Challenge’ project, which aims to position the UAE in the first place of all global competitiveness indices and reports.

The ministry said this achievement comes within the framework of its continuous efforts to meet the ambitious goal of achieving the UAE’s first place on the global competitiveness indices within its competences, which falls under the Federal Government’s number one challenge project.

The nine indices that have ranked the UAE in the first place position include a series of economic, trade and tourism activities supervised by the Ministry of Economy based on classifications issued by reports from the World Economic Forum (WEF), the International Institute for Administrative Development in Switzerland, and the European Institute of Business Administration (Insead), according to a statement from the ministry.

The UAE was ranked first in five indices mentioned in the World Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report issued by the World Economic Forum, Switzerland 2017-2018.


Dubai external food trade tops $19bn

THE value of Dubai’s external food trade reached Dh70.2 billion ($19.11 billion) where imports touched Dh44.6 billion, followed by exports with Dh12.6 billion and re-exports with Dh12.9 billion during the first nine months of 2017.

Dubai Customs continued its efforts in bolstering Dubai’s external food trade, according to recent statistics issued by Dubai Customs in parallel with Gulfood 2018, added Emirates news agency Wam. “Promoting external trade in support of national economy is a priority for us at Dubai Customs following the wise vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai,” said Ahmed Abdul Salam Kazim, director of Strategy and Corporate Excellence at Dubai Customs. “We facilitate the business by introducing the latest and best services in clearing cargo to help a better trade flow of food products from and into the country.

“Dubai has become an essential trade corridor for foodstuffs in the region, owing to its advanced infrastructure and efficient customs services that insure easy access of dietary supplies to the surrounding markets in record time. Tailoring smart Customs services and facilitations to the foodstuffs trading industry is key to ensure easy and timely access of basic goods to local consumers and surrounding markets in keeping with the highest health and safety standards,” he added.


Abu Dhabi non-oil foreign trade at $43bn

ABU DHABI’S non-oil foreign trade in 2017 amounted to Dh159.9 billion ($43.53 billion), Dh13.2 billion of which was conducted in December, a growth of 3.4 per cent over the corresponding period in 2016.

The emirate’s non-oil exports stood at around Dh22.6 billion, with re-exports hitting Dh21.7 billion and imports Dh115.5 billion, reported state-run news agency Wam, citing figures recently released by the Statistics Centre- Abu Dhabi.

The statistics cover the emirate’s non-oil trade conducted through its land, sea and air ports, and do not include all the emirate’s trade with the outer world, nor do they include Abu Dhabi’s trade with the country’s other emirates.

The emirate’s manufacturing supplies stood at around Dh20.4 billion, accounting for 90 per cent of its 2017’s exports, while the non-oil exports during the same monitored period hit Dh955 billion, with consumable exports reaching Dh826 million.

In terms of re-exports, transportation equipment and accessories come first with a total value of Dh9.4 billion, accounting for 43.3 per cent of the total re-export value, followed by production supplies, Dh4.5 billion, and manufacturing equipment Dh3.00 billion.

In the meantime, the emirate’s manufacturing imports reached Dh43.7 billion, accounting for 37.8 per cent of the 2017’s total imports, while transportation imports stood at Dh33.9 billion, production supplies, Dh22.4 billion, consumables, Dh7 billion, and F&B at Dh6.23 billion.


Abu Dhabi issues 9,412 new licences

THE total number of new economic licences in Abu Dhabi that were issued by Abu Dhabi Business Center of the Department of Economic Development (DED) reached 9,412 in 2017 compared to 9,089 new licences in 2016, indicating an increase by 3.5 per cent.

The report of the economic licencing activity in Abu Dhabi which was issued stated that the licences issued in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi during last year were distributed according to their types, reported Emirates news agency Wam. These were 8,816 commercial licences, 245 crafts licences, 141 for tourism, 40 for agriculture and fish and animal livestock, 165 professional licences and five other licences.

Moreover, the report showed that the new economic licences of 2017 according to the activity’s legal form included 5,935 for individual institutions, 1,742 for company branches, 1,285 for limited liability companies, 439 for one person-companies, one for solidarity company, three for private joint stock companies, three for public shareholding companies, three for professional companies and one license for a co-operative society.

The report showed that the total number of economic licences that were renewed in 2017 was 82,325 as compared to 77,706 in 2016, indicating an increase by 5.9 per cent. Until the end of 2017, the total number of economic licences that were registered at the DED reached 116,986 consisting of 76,523 in Abu Dhabi, 31,716 in Al Ain and 8747 in Al Dhafra.


Saudi cement inventories down

SAUDI ARABIA’S cement industry witnessed a slight drop in the inventories in January, (down 1.3 per cent month-on-month, the first such decline since April 2017, mainly due to a 25 per cent year-on-year (yoy) plunge in clinker production, while its m-o-m figures fell 14.4 per cent, said a report.

Industry experts expect production cuts to accelerate going forward, stated Al Rajhi Capital Research in its monthly report. 

“As we expected, Ministry of commerce announced the cancelation of export fees. However, we believe there is limited benefit from the move due to sluggish demand and political instability in the neighboring regions, excess supply and competitive pricing in the region,” stated the report.

According to experts at Al Rajhi Capital Research, the excess inventory remains in the Saudi market.

“Inventories stand at 35.2 million tonne (75 per cent of last 12 month sales). Reaching the optimal level of inventories (two months dispatches) will take time in our view,” they stated.

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