United Arab Emirates Economic Forecast

United Arab Emirates Economic Outlook

January 8, 2019

Economic momentum appears to have taken a hit in the last quarter of the year due to nosediving oil prices in the period. Nevertheless, growth in the non-oil sector remained steady in Q4, as reflected by PMI data up to November, which suggests annual non-oil GDP growth in 2018 broadly matched the preceding year. However, the stock market in Dubai posted its worst annual performance since 2008 with a 25% fall, owing to oversupply and falling prices in the critical real-estate market; in contrast, the Abu Dhabi stock index performed robustly. Looking at 2019, Dubai unveiled its annual budget on 1 January, which was broadly stable from 2018’s record expenditures, with a continued focus on infrastructure investment to prepare for Expo 2020. This spending will supplement the largest budget in history which was recently enacted at the federal level.

United Arab Emirates Economic Growth

Despite uncertain prospects in the oil market, the economy appears ready for liftoff this year, propelled by multiple tailwinds. In addition to strong fiscal stimulus, both at the federal and emirate level, and the Expo 2020-related infrastructure push—which should buoy construction and tourism activity—the country should benefit from a surge in FDI inflows thanks to its recent landmark investment reform and business-friendly laws enacted in past months designed to ease the cost of doing business. Nevertheless, a global growth slowdown, which is expected to continue to weigh on oil prices, and increased financial volatility could somewhat cloud this rosy outlook. FocusEconomics panelists expect GDP to increase 3.1% in 2019, which is down 0.1 percentage points from last month’s forecast, and 3.3% in 2020.

United Arab Emirates Economy Data

20132014201520162017
Population (million)9.09.39.69.910.1
GDP per capita (USD)43,19143,33537,37535,378-  
GDP (USD bn)390403358349-  
Economic Growth (GDP, annual variation in %)5.83.33.83.01.5
Consumption (annual variation in %)5.212.3-19.1-10.3-  
Investment (annual variation in %)-5.710.94.32.3-  
Industrial Production (annual variation in %)3.60.96.84.3-  
Unemployment Rate2.82.42.11.61.7
Fiscal Balance (% of GDP)8.41.9-3.4-2.5-1.8
Public Debt (% of GDP)15.715.518.720.7-  
Money (annual variation in %)22.87.95.53.34.1
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %, eop)1.43.13.61.22.7
Inflation Rate (CPI, annual variation in %)1.12.44.11.62.0
Policy Interest Rate (%)1.001.001.001.001.75
Exchange Rate (vs USD)3.673.673.673.673.67
Exchange Rate (vs USD, aop)3.673.673.673.673.67
Current Account (% of GDP)18.313.34.72.4-  
Current Account Balance (USD bn)71.253.616.78.4-  
Trade Balance (USD billion)14010876.668.3-  
Exports (USD billion)371343300299-  
Imports (USD billion)231235224230-  
Exports (annual variation in %)3.2-7.6-12.4-0.6-  
Imports (annual variation in %)5.91.7-4.62.9-  
International Reserves (USD)68.278.493.985.4-  
External Debt (% of GDP)44.348.360.862.2-  

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United Arab Emirates Facts

ValueChangeDate
Exchange Rate3.670.0 %Jan 16
Stock Market0.30.75 %Jan 16

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