Dubai recorded a non-oil foreign trade of Dh339 billion ($92.2billion) in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019, an increase of 7 per cent year-on-year (YoY) from Dh316 billion recorded in Q1 last year.
Exports registered the most growth, rising 30 per cent to reach Dh42 billion while re-exports grew 7 per cent to Dh106 billion and imports went up by 4 per cent to reach Dh190 billion.
Data released by Dubai Customs showed that Dubai’s Q1 2019 non-oil trade volumes increased by 32 per cent to 28 million tons (21 million tons in Q1 2018). Exports rose by 94 per cent to 6 million tons while re-exports surged 41 per cent to 4 million tons and imports rose 16 per cent to 17 million tons.
Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, said: “This robust performance and marked growth of Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade is an indication that we are on the right path of revenue diversification in alignment with the values and standards outlined in the 50-Year Charter.
“The Dubai Silk Road Strategy supports decades of successful investment in developing the emirate’s infrastructure. In line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, we are committed to developing our government services so that we can become a world-class model for future governments based on knowledge, innovation and advanced AI applications.”
Dubai’s non-oil trade grew 58 per cent in the 2010-2019 decade; an increase of Dh124 billion from Q1 2010 which saw Dh215 billion.
Trade through free zones reached Dh147 billion (+20 per cent YoY). Direct trade was the largest contributor to total trade at Dh189 billion (-0.5 per cent YoY) and customs warehousing accounted for Dh2.3 billion (-21 per cent YoY).
Air and sea trade accounted for 85 per cent of the total trade, with both witnessing double-digit increases. Air trade accounted for Dh158 billion (+11 per cent YoY) and sea trade recorded Dh129 billion (+10 per cent YoY). Trade by land reached Dh52 billion.
Trade with Asia, the largest trading region for Dubai, increased by 7 per cent to Dh208 billion. Trade with Europe, the second largest partner, touched Dh58 billion. Africa witnessed the biggest growth, rising 36 per cent to reach Dh42 billion. Americas and Oceania also contributed with high single digit growth, up 7 per cent (Dh27 billion) and 9 per cent (Dh3.5 billion) respectively.
Sultan Bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation said: “We are pleased to report that trade in Dubai has rebounded in the first quarter of 2019 with non-oil trade growing 7.3 per cent year-on-year to reach Dh339 billion. This strong growth has been delivered despite the challenging macro and geopolitical environment, which further highlights the strength and resilience of the Dubai economy.
“Importantly, we have seen significant growth in both exports (+30 per cent) and re-exports (+7 per cent) which reinforces Dubai’s profile as the key hub for the region. Overall, despite geopolitical headwinds, we remain excited about the outlook for Dubai, particularly with the lead up to EXPO 2020.”
Strong growth was witnessed across the top three trading partners. The top three trading countries by value remained the same as Q1 2018. The biggest trading partner was China, followed by India and the USA. These contributed Dh36 billion (+8 per cent YoY), Dh33 billion (+40 per cent YoY) and Dh20 billion (+10 per cent YoY) respectively to the total value traded in Q1 2019. Saudi Arabia was the largest trade partner in the Arab world with Dh13.2 billion worth of non-oil trade in Q1 2019.
The total value of gold, diamonds and jewellery traded through Dubai in Q1 2019 totalled Dh90 billion, an increase of 9 per cent YoY. The phones market (Dh42 billion) was the highest contributor and trade in petroleum oils more than doubled from last year at Dh21 billion.
Bin Sulayem pointed out that Dubai Customs recently launched a number of initiatives including a new disruptive berthing service for vessels using the Dubai Creek (Khor Dubai). The new system: (Smart Vessel Berthing System) will help vessels load and unload their goods with the help of an advanced AI based service.
Another initiative was the launch of the ‘Virtual Stock Guarantee’ initiative. The new facility was developed by Dubai Customs to support re-export activity from free zones to external markets as part of Dubai Customs’ efforts to help Dubai maintain a leading position and become a global economic capital. This initiative is the first of its kind in the world. Dubai Customs also launched the ‘Productivity Engine’, which uses artificial intelligence to boost productivity, reduce costs and make clients happier and more satisfied.
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