UAE GDP growth expected to hit 3.2% in 2010
Region's economic recovery continues to improve says Economy Minister
Economic growth in the UAE is expected to climb to 3.2 percent this year and no further major restructuring of Dubai debt is seen, Economy Minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri told reporters on Saturday.
The UAE economy is expected to lag its Gulf peers this year as banks in the world's third-largest oil exporter remain reluctant to lend due to a $23.5 billion debt restructuring by conglomerate Dubai World.
"We have heard different numbers (about 2009 gross domestic product growth)," al-Mansouri told a news conference. "The good news is that it was positive 1.3 percent and we expect GDP growth for 2010 to be around 3 percent," he said.
Mansouri said UAE's open economy was likely to be affected by the euro zone debt crisis but the impact was hard to quantify at the moment.
"I do not see any direct effects (of the euro zone crisis) right now, looking at banks' exposures," he said after a presentation of the government's 2009 economic report.
The UAE's real GDP is seen growing by 2.0-3.2 percent, depending on oil prices, which are expected to move between $75 and 85 a barrel in 2010 and 2011, Mansouri said. "I feel very comfortable with oil at $80 (a barrel)," he said, adding that GDP growth was most likely to reach 2.5 percent this year.
The UAE Economic Report 2009, released by National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday, also stated that despite the slowdown in economic activity, the UAE government aggressively pursued its diversification strategy into non-oil high value manufacturing and service sectors. Non-oil foreign trade, on the other hand, fell by 16.3 per cent in 2009 reflecting the slowdown in global trade as both non-oil merchandise re-exports and imports fell by 9.3 per cent and 20.9 per cent respectively.
The report also stated that the slowdown in the Dubai property market had been tempered by "large investments [that] have been made in its infrastructure such as the Dubai Metro, Burj Khalifa, the Al Maktoum International Airport, new roads and bridge, and much more which will have positive effects on economic growth in the long run."