May 2020

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

Abu Dhabi non-oil foreign trade tops $5bn

THE value of non-oil foreign merchandise trade through Abu Dhabi ports increased by 0.5 per cent from Dh19.2 billion ($5.22 billion) in the year to date in January 2019 to Dh19.3 billion in the same period of 2020, a media report said.

Imports increased by 5.8 per cent from Dh9.4 billion in January 2019 to Dh10 billion in the same period of 2020, and non-oil exports increased by 0.4 per cent from Dh5.47 billion to Dh5.49 billion in the reference period, reported state news agency Wam, citing figures released by Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre (SCAD).

Re-exports reached Dh3.8 billion in the reference month. Percentage contribution of imports, non-oil exports and re-exports to the value of non-oil foreign merchandise trade in January 2020 stood at 51.8 per cent, 28.5 per cent and 19.7 per cent respectively.

SCAD noted that Saudi Arabia was the key trade partner of Abu Dhabi in 2019 with two-way trade value standing at Dh4 billion, accounting for 21.1 per cent of the emirate’s total trade in January 2020. China in the second place with Dh1.7 billion, followed by the US at Dh1.3 billion and then UK at Dh881


Bahrain exports $1.53bn worth products in Q1

THE value of exports of national origin from Bahrain decreased by 1 per cent to BD579 million ($1.530 billion) during first quarter of 2020, compared to BD587 million for the same quarter of the previous year.

The value of imports increased 8 per cent, reaching BD1.244 billion during the quarter, compared to BD1.157 billion for the same quarter last year, said an Information & eGovernment Authority (iGA) foreign trade report for the first quarter.

 The trade balance, difference between exports and imports, reached a deficit of BD438 million versus BD374 million for the same quarter of 2019, an increase of 17 per cent. The top 10 countries on the list of exports from Bahrain accounted for 83 per cent of the total value of exports. The top 10 countries on the import list accounted for 67 per cent of the value.

 IMPORTS: According to the report, China ranked first in imports to Bahrain, with a total of BD156 million; Brazil came second with BD97 million and Saudi Arabia was third with BD94 million. Non-agglomerated iron ores and concentrates were the top product imported into Bahrain with a total value of BD90 million, while aluminum oxide was second with BD88 million, and four-wheel drive cars third with BD50 million.

EXPORTS: Saudi Arabia ranked first among countries receiving Bahraini exports of national origin, importing BD163 million from Bahrain. The UAE was second with BD64 million and the US came third with BD57 million. Agglomerated iron ores and concentrates emerged as the top products exported during first quarter 2020 with BD65 million, unwrought aluminum (not alloyed) was second with a value of BD57 million, and unwrought aluminum alloyed third with BD54 million.

RE-EXPORTS: The total value of re-exports increased by 16 per cent to reach BD227 million in the first quarter, compared to BD196 million for the same quarter of the previous year. The top 10 countries accounted for 89 per cent of the re-exported value. The UAE ranked first with BD64 million, Saudi Arabia second with BD51 million, and the US third with BD19 million.

Gold ingots emerged as the top product re-exported from Bahrain with BD36 million, four-wheel drive cars came in second place with BD26 million, and turbo jets  came third with BD18 million.


Global construction output to shrink by 1.4pc

THE global construction output is expected to contract by 1.4 per cent this year, as a result of the severe economic shock caused by the lockdown measures imposed by governments around the world to contain the spread of Covid-19, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Danny Richards, Lead Economist at GlobalData, said: “Although the construction industry has in some cases been exempt from restrictions on business activity, few major markets will manage to record an increase in construction output in 2020.”

Before the Covid-19 outbreak, the global construction industry had been expected to grow by 3.1 per cent. This was initially revised down to just 0.5 per cent in late March based on a review of the impact of the virus at that point in time, he explained.

However, in view of the rapidly evolving nature of the pandemic and the more drastic measures being taken to contain the spread, GlobalData has further adjusted the outlook for the 91 countries covered, he added.

Richards pointed out that in the short term, there is a high risk of projects in execution being halted because of lockdowns, a lack of materials, and other supply chain disruption.

“Projects at pre-construction stages will be severely delayed, given likely disruption in processing building permits, tendering, and awarding contracts,” he noted.

Based on the latest updates of mega projects being tracked by GlobalData, global construction momentum has slowed considerably – GlobalData’s Global Construction Projects Momentum Index (CPMI) score (adjusted) dropped to 0.39, from 0.46 in Q4 2019. The unadjusted score plummeted to a low of 0.22, reflecting the severity of the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak on construction projects, noted Richards.

“Given the extent to which the crisis intensified across the world in March, with many major markets in effect shutting down, the Global CPMI score dropped into negative territory, falling to -0.05,” he added.


Dubai foodstuff trade hits $3bn in Q1

DUBAI Customs said that external trade in foodstuff for the first quarter of 2020 totalled Dh11 billion ($3 billion), the equivalent of 2.87 million tonnes, according to a media report.

It noted that it had worked alongside of Dubai Municipality to ensure that citizens and residents alike have access to sufficient, safe and nutritious supplies of food items including vegetables, fruits, meats, poultry and fish, reported state news agency Wam.

“Facilitating trade in foodstuff is our highest priority now, whilst taking all measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus,” said Nasim Al Muhairi, director of the Statistics Department at Dubai Customs.

“Making sure food is available and everybody has access to it is very important. We have the human and technological potential to facilitate trade and secure the borders, aided by our dedicated employees who excel even in hard times.”

Al Muhairi added that Dubai Customs works closely with strategic government partners and businesses in the food sector to meet the market’s needs against any external pressures.

Dubai Customs affirmed in its statement that it had put in place all necessary arrangements and requirements to ensure delivery of foodstuff to the market without any delay. Inspectors and other employees at the customs centres provide the best services to facilitate foodstuff trade in line with the national efforts to contain the spread of coronavirus, it concluded.

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