The non-oil trade of the country showed strong resilience in the face of economic obstacles.
The UAE non-oil trade volume could grow by up to 12.9% year-over-year in 2021, supported by an expected uptick in maritime transport activity and other positive global economic trends, according to new analysis from Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI).
The analysis based on recent data from the IMF, the UAE’s Federal Customs Authority and UNCTAD, projected 4.8% growth in global maritime transport and trade this year, depending on developments in fighting COVID-19 and progress in vaccinating populations around the world.
Government policies and stimulus efforts, easing of lockdowns in key markets, the opening of global markets and China’s resumption of commercial activity were also outlined as key factors that could positively impact the UAE’s trade performance in the second half of 2020.
Recovery on the horizon: The UAE non-oil trade showed strong resilience in the face of economic obstacles in 2018 and 2019, as it recorded growth rates of 8.5% and 13%, respectively during those years, while maritime trade accounted for 83% of total goods traded.
The forecast comes after international maritime trade recorded a 4.1% drop in 2020 due to economic headwinds created by the pandemic, which included travel restrictions and the disruption of supply chains, consumption patterns and manufacturing activities.
The UNCTAD data also indicated that many companies in the trade and shipping sector have already begun to evaluate options on how to ensure preparedness with the expected reconfiguration of supply chains due to the impact of the pandemic.
This includes investment in warehousing and warehousing, adopting advanced technologies and diversifying supply sources, which have become crucial for ensuring adequate inventory and maintaining operations.
The UAE’s non-oil trade amounted to Dhs1.033 trillion during the first nine months of 2020, statistics by the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre showed recently.
The figures cover the exchanges of non-oil commodities, including direct trade and that of free zones and warehousing arrangements, highlighting the healthier trade and remarkable leap in exports and re-exports during September, at a value of Dhs76.35 billion.
From January to September 2020, imports amounted to Dhs572.888 billion, while the value of exports reached Dhs191.322 billion and re-exports increased to Dhs269.104 billion, according to the FCSC’s statistics.
China is the country’s top trading partner with a total trade of Dhs124.45 billionn, followed by Saudi Arabia, Dhs90.8 billion, India, Dhs70 billion, US, Dhs60 billion, and Switzerland, Dhs41 billion.
Gold topped the list at around Dhs182 billion, followed by phone and other cellular devices at Dhs105 billion. According to Ministry of Economy’s statistics, the UAE ranks third globally, and leads Arab region in terms of re-exports, coming among top 20 import & export countries worldwide in 2019, during which non-oil trade grew 5 per cent, contributing significantly to the country’s non-oil GDP.
The value of the UAE’s non-oil trade reached Dhs658.3 billion in the first half of 2020, accounting for 41 per cent of the total value of the country’s trade in 2019, according Federal Competitiveness and Statistics figures.
This signals the continued activity of the economic sectors despite the slowdown in economic and commercial activities during the past months worldwide, as a result of temporary closures due to COVID-19, said the FCSC.
Gold topped the list of non-oil commodities trade at Dhs104 billion, making 15.7 per cent of the total trade in H1 of the current year.
According to figures, imports stood at Dhs378.8 billion in first half of 2020 against Dhs116.7 billion for exports and Dhs162.7 billion for re-exports.
With regards to the trade partners, the FCSC’s figures showed that China emerged as the largest trading partner with a trade value of Dhs82.4 billion, followed by Kingdom of Saudi Arabia at Dhs46.6 billion. The value of the trade with five major trading partners, China, Saudi Arabia, India, United States and Switzerland reached Dhs244 billion, constituting 37.1 per cent of the UAE’s total trade in the reference period.
The UAE non-oil foreign trade sector demonstrated agility and preparedness despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
Abu Dhabi’s non-oil foreign trade sector reaching Dhs151.18 billion from January to September 2020.
The sector also distributed imports worth Dhs69.33 billion, exports worth Dhs55.37 billion, and re-exports worth Dhs26.48 billion.
The customs transactions completed by the General Administration of Customs of Abu Dhabi recorded around 788,699 transactions during the first nine months of this year, supported by the smooth completion of customs clearance operations and transactions.
Transportation methods were also diversified, with airborne trade accounting for Dhs51.35 billion, seaborne trade accounting for Dhs59.38 billion, and overland trade accounting for Dhs40.45 billion.
Dubai non-oil external trade has doubled about ten times between 2000 and 2019 rising from Dhs143 billion in 2000 to Dhs1.271 trillion in 2019. In the first half of 2020, Dubai trade made around Dhs551 billion, according to trade figures released by Dubai Customs on the occasion of the UAE 49th National Day celebrations.
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