UAE’s non-oil trade in 2016 shows almost flat growth compared to 2015

Published February 2nd, 2017 - 11:00 GMT
The UAE is looking to diversify its market beyond oil exports. (Shutterstock)
The UAE is looking to diversify its market beyond oil exports. (Shutterstock)

The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade stood at $319 billion during the first nine months of 2016, posting almost flat growth compared to $318.5 billion during the same period in 2015.

The share of imports in the UAE’s total non-oil trade amounted to $19.6 billion, up 1 percent year-on-year, while exports grew by 6 percent to reach $4.1 billion, according to data from the Federal Customs Authority (FCA).

In terms of imports, native and semi-processed gold topped the list at $23.65 billion, accounting for 12 percent of the total non-oil imports.

Mobile phones came second at $17.8 billion (9 percent), followed by cars at $10.5 billion (5.3 percent), non-composite diamonds at $9.63 billion (5 percent), and petroleum oils at $7.2 billion ( 4 percent).

Gold also topped the list of exports with a value of $11.8 billion, representing 29 percent of the total non-oil exports.

It was followed by raw aluminium at $3.84 billion (9.5 percent), ornaments and jewellery at $3.7 billion (9 percent), ethylene polymers in primary forms at $2.6 billion (6 percent), and cigarettes and cigars at $1.8 billion (4 percent).

Meanwhile the UAE’s re-exports during the first nine months of 2016 were valued at $82 billion.

Mobile phones emerged as the most re-exported commodity with a value of $13.1 billion – accounting for 16 percent of the total re-exports.

Non-composite diamonds came next, followed by ornaments and jewellery, and automatic data processing machines.

The total non-oil trade volumes in terms of weight stood at approximately 176.7 million tons with 77.7 million tons of imported goods, 84.7 million tons of exports and 14.3 million tons of re-exports.

Geographically, Asia, Australia and the Pacific region remained the UAE’s top non-oil trading partners with a share of $126.78 billion, equivalent to 42 percent of the total.

Europe came next with a share of $68.17 billion, followed by the Middle East and North Africa Region with $58.23 billion.

The UAE’s non-oil trade with the GCC countries constituted 11 percent of its total non-oil trade, amounting to $34.3 billion.

Saudi Arabia came topped the list of Gulf countries with a value of $14.9 billion (43 percent of the total), followed by Oman ($6.4 billion), Kuwait ($5.12 billion), Qatar ($4.46 billion) and Bahrain ($3.4 billion).

The wider Arab states accounted for 19 percent of its total non-oil trade, with a value of $59.43 billion.

Overall, direct non-oil foreign trade accounted for 69 percent of the country’s total volume of foreign trade between January to September 2016, valued at $221.5 billion.

Commissioner Ali Al Kaabi, head of FCA, said that the growth in the volume of the UAE’s direct non-oil trade reflects the “country’s success in achieving economic diversification and affirms the improvement and competitiveness of national products in global markets”.

“Non-oil trade activity reflects an improvement in the UAE’s trade balance with many countries and supports traders’ and investors’ confidence in the UAE economy,” official news agency WAM quoted him as saying.


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