The value of Abu Dhabi's foreign trade increased by 37.6 per cent in 2011 to AED532.9 billion ($145.09bn), accounting for 66 per cent of its GDP for the year, the Department of Economic Development (DED) revealed, reports The National
Exports grew by 38.5 per cent as imports rose 34.4 per cent, the DED's report Investment and Commodity Exchange through the Outlets of Abu Dhabi revealed.
The increase in foreign trade supports the emirate's "economic development, modernisation and implementation of various economic plans" and "raises GDP, and contributes to the expansion and diversification of production", the DED said in a statement.
Saudi Arabia was Abu Dhabi's largest non-oil trading partner , accounting for 11 per cent of the total non-oil trade valued at AED15.9bn.
Next was the United States with AED13.6bn of trade, then South Korea with AED11.8bn and in fourth place was Japan with a share of AED9.9bn. Germany, Italy and France, were the fifth, sixth, and seventh largest non-oil trading partners during 2011.
High oil prices boosted Abu Dhabi's trade surplus in 2011 to AED300bn, compared to AED214bn in 2010 - a growth rate of 40 per cent.
Commodity exports rose in 2011 by 38.5 per cent, exceeding AED416bn in value. This was mainly due to oil exports, which jumped 41.5 per cent to more than AED393 bn.
"This contributed to the increase in the average annual growth rate of total commodity exports during the last five years which reached 14 per cent during the period (2006-2011). The value of Abu Dhabi's non-oil commodity exports amounted to AED11.5bn in 2011, less by one per cent compared to 2010. The value of re-exports reached AED11.6bn, increasing by nearly 5.2 per cent compared to 2010," the DED said.
The "industrial supplies" commodity group (not classified elsewhere) acquired 47.3 per cent of total non-oil exports, as its exports amounted to AED5.4bn in 2011, increasing by 18.8 per cent (AED860 million), compared to 2010.
The "capital goods" group (excluding transport equipments) came in second place on the list of most important export commodities, as exports of this group amounted to AED4.8bn. These two groups accounted for 89 per cent of the total value of non-oil exports in 2011.
Meanwhile, commodity imports totalled AED116.4bn in 2011, compared to AED86.6bn in 2010, registering a growth rate of 34.4 per cent, while the annual growth rate of total commodity imports stood at 19.7 per cent on average during the period 2006 to 2011.
"Abu Dhabi's  exports continued to cover commodity imports at very high ratios during the [five year] period ... where coverage ratio reached 358 per cent in 2011, confirming the ability of Abu Dhabi's exports to secure the needs of economic development, and meet the needs and requirements of the population, the DED said.
"The ability of exports to cover imports was mainly due to the enormous high ability of oil exports to cover imports, as the coverage ratio exceeded 388 per cent in 2011.
"The non-oil exports (excluding re-exports) coverage to imports did not exceed 10 per cent, while the percentage coverage of total non-oil exports (including re-exports) to imports reached 19.8 per cent in 2011."