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Dubai GDP Rises in 2012 with Oman Economy Set for Growth and Transport Driving Growth in Qatar


Middle East : 14 June 2013

GDP Rises by 4.4 Percent in Dubai

Dubai recorded robust economic recovery last year, reporting 4.4 percent growth and reaching a high not seen since 2009, according to official data.

Performance shone in the fourth quarter, as real GDP surged by almost 5.3 percent y-o-y. This rate tops those levels seen in the last several years.

Climbing from about Dh 304.9 bn in 2011, Dubai’s real GDP reached Dh 318.4 bn last year with the non-oil sector recording high levels of growth.

Executive director of the emirate’s statistics bureau, Arif Al Muhairi noted that the high levels of growth indicate economic recovery and push Dubai toward even more growth over the coming periods.

Al Muhairi stated that non-hydrocarbon exports in Dubai jumped by almost 47 percent in 2012, reaching Dh 163 bn. According to the quoted data, imports also surged by about 12 percent to reach a new high of Dh 737 bn in the Middle East’s business and commercial hub.

GDP in Dubai’s non-oil sector rose by about 5.5 percent last year, led by almost 7.5 percent growth in communications and transport, 6.5 percent in construction and 6.1 percent in the real estate sector. Approximately 1.4 percent growth was recorded in other non-hydrocarbon economic sectors.

IMF Expects Oman Economy to Expand by 4.2 Percent

According to the World Economic Outlook report by the IMF, Oman should see around 4.2 percent economic growth this year and 3.5 percent growth in 2014. Growth in Oman is forecasted to remain steady at around 3.8 percent on average for the next five years.

The current account surplus in Oman is expected to drop this year, falling from the 2012 level of 15.6 percent to around 9.9 percent this year, with another 4.7 percent decline in 2014. That trend makes Oman’s current account surplus the lowest in the GCC.

The 2013 State Budget reports a significantly higher growth rate for this year, forecasting 7 percent growth. Oman’s Minister of Financial Affairs, Darwish bin Ismaeel al Balushi, stated that initial data indicates growth of 8.3 percent, higher than the 7 percent budgeted growth.

Al Balushi noted a growth rate of 10.6 percent for non-oil GDP. He also noted that positive economic performance is expected for Oman in 2013, driven by the nearly 7 percent growth in both oil and non-oil revenue. Investment expenditure for this year is forecasted at 24 percent of public expenditures, or around RO 3 bn, according to the minister.

Inflation remains steady with the targeted figure of around 3 percent, in spite of rapid growth in economic activities and trade, according to Al Balushi.
Based on IMF predictions, consumer inflation in Oman should average around 3.3 percent for this year and next. The IMF has revised the expectations for global economic growth, forecasting a rise of 3.3 percent for 2013. After a surge of 5.75 percent last year, expansion for oil exporting nations in the MENA region should drop to 3.25 percent as a result of weaker global demand for crude, according to the IMF.

The IMF report stated that last year resulted in healthy growth for oil exporters in MENA, after production in Libya was restored and expansion occurred in the GCC nations. As growth in oil production slows due to weaker global demand, economic growth is expected to fall to 3.25 percent, according to the report.

With government spending remaining at higher levels in the oil exporters, non-oil GDP should continue to grow at around 4.25 percent this year, according to the IMF. Overall GDP is forecasted to grow by 3.75 percent in 2014, resulting from growth in the non-oil GDP and resuming growth in oil.

Qatari Growth Driven by Transport Sector

Qatar’s transport sector has reported mixed results for 2013, resulting from greater economic exposure to the global market. As the final quarter of this year approaches, three of the leading firms in the transport industry have reported sustained strong earnings.

Nearly 33 percent of the forty-one transport companies recorded declining profits for the opening three quarters of 2013. Most of those firms reported profits ranging from just under 1 percent to 9 percent, according to the OBG.

Profits have risen in this sector, although they continue to fall behind the pace kept by Qatar’s overall economy, which is expected to report 6 percent expansion in 2013. The mixed results were reflected in share values for the group of leading firms, with the transport sector as a whole climbing 1.69 percent in Q3.

Although the overall results for the transport index fell below expectations, two out of three listed companies reported positive results. Profit levels for Gulf Warehousing Company and Qatar Navigation rose far beyond the index average. Declining profits at Qatar Gas Transport Company drove down the index results.

Gulf Warehousing Company reported the leading performance in Qatar’s transport sector, with a profit increase of 31 percent over the opening nine months of 2013. Local operations for GWC reported robust direct earnings.

Qatar Navigation posted positive figures as well, reported net profits up by 9 percent over the first nine months of 2011. The firm noted that net profits in logistics and maritime operations rose this year, as a result of activity in container transport and port operations.

Both firms expect the Qatari economy to support further growth, with government infrastructure investment providing support, as well as the preparations leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup event. Massive quantities of materials and equipment will be shipped throughout the nation, filling order books and boosting overall performance levels in Qatar’s transport sector.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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