Having weathered the COVID-induced headwinds, the UAE is now moving ahead on the path of economic recovery at full throttle. The country’s non-oil foreign trade clocked a whopping $245 billion in the first half of 2021, marking a 27% increase from the same period in 2020. It is somewhat higher than the projection of the United Nations Conference on Commerce and Development (UNCTAD) for global trade, which is predicted to increase by 23% to $28 trillion for the entire fiscal year.
Non-oil Foreign Trade Rebound Beats Expectations
“This indicates a 6% growth in the country’s non-oil foreign trade compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019,” reported state news agency WAM, citing data released by the Ministry of Economy. The rapid economic recovery has also resulted in the non-oil private sector improving to its best level in over two years. The UAE’s IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 55.9 in November from 55.7 in October, the highest since June 2019.
Dubai, which accounts for a major share of the country’s non-oil foreign trade posted a 31% growth to $196.66 billion in the first half, reinforcing the emirate's status as one of the world’s fastest-growing business hubs. The country's non-oil trade significantly grew with the five fastest-growing economies — China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey, and Italy — in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. India, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Kuwait, and China were the country's top five export destinations during this period.
Meanwhile, gold ornaments, aluminum, plastic, copper, and iron and steel were the five most important non-oil exports of the country. Their total value witnessed a growth of 50% in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020.
According to Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, “the non-oil foreign trade data for the first half of 2021 is a clear indication of the rapid recovery and confirms the efficiency of the forward-looking vision and proactive plans implemented by the UAE’s wise leadership to deal with the pandemic’s impact on the trade sector.”
Dr. Al Zeyoudi noted that the launch of the “Projects of 50,” which was recently announced by the UAE government, will contribute to enhancing the country’s trade performance during the next stage. It includes comprehensive agreements and strategic initiatives to strengthen the UAE’s trade partnerships with countries around the world. These measures will help to solidify the UAE's position as a leading and competitive trade hub connecting the East and West, as well as a major player in guaranteeing the continuity and growth of global supply chains.
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