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Experts Forecast Higher Growth in the UAE

UAE : 25 March 2012

UAE Economy Minister Expects 4 Percent Growth This Year

Minister of the Economy Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri expects the UAE to experience higher levels of economic growth in 2012, reaching four percent expansion, an improvement on the 3.3 percent growth seen in 2011.

Recent forecasts from the International Monetary Fund put UAE growth at only 2.5 percent for 2012. The IMF predicted that the non-hydrocarbon sector will continue to be strong throughout 2012 with real GDP in that sector posting 3.5 percent growth.

The overall GDP in the UAE grew by 4.9 percent in 2011, surging past forecasts as a result of increasing oil output and an expanding non-oil sector.

The Minister of Economy noted that listed companies in the UAE have proven resilient in the face of crisis and have responded in positive ways to both regional and global variables, resulting in a successful year in 2011. Economic sectors in the UAE continued to experience “outstanding growth,” according to Al Mansouri in a statement to Khaleej Times on the opening of the XBRL International Conference.

This conference, hosted by the Security and Commodities Authority, is being held in the region for the first time and works to promote the advantages of electronic filing. The XBRL strives to improve financial reporting practices between businesses and their shareholders.

Al Mansouri noted that the banking sector reported massive net income growth, 30 percent higher in 2011 than 2010, and pulling ahead of all other economic sectors in the UAE. The energy sector reported seven percent growth, while the services sector experienced around three percent growth. The minister also stated that business disclosure within UAE-listed companies has evolved over the last few years, with more than 98 percent of firms reporting timely disclosures.

Al Mansouri noted that he has hopes for the XBRL system creating enhanced disclosure conditions in the local market. The minister is confident that efforts to implement the XBRL system will improve international and local investor confidence in the UAE markets, adding value to an economy that has been steadily moving towards recovery after the worldwide financial crisis.

Arleen Thomas, chairperson for XBRL, noted that the success of the organization’s mission relies on public ministries engaging in the system, particularly in nations like the UAE.

Thomas stated that implementation of the XBRL system in the UAE has accurately reflected the conference theme, namely “Transparency: Available, Reliable, Comparable and Reusable Data.”

Minister Al Mansouri also honoured several businesses and organisations involved in the UAE’s XBRL pilot project.

Experts and industry innovators came together at the three-day conference in an effort to create electronic business information that is timely, available, easily compared and accurate.

DEC Secretary General Says 5 Percent Growth Possible for 2012 in Dubai

Dubai Economic Council (or DEC) Secretary General Hani Al Hamli stated that economic growth in Dubai could reach five percent in 2012, driven by logistics and other key sectors.

Based on strong growth in the logistics sector, Al Hamli forecasted that Dubai GDP will experience between 4.5 and 5 percent growth this year. Other sectors will play a role in driving growth, including retail and trade, tourism and transport. Together with logistics, these sectors make up around 60 percent of Dubai’s GDP.

Al Hamli also noted that the UAE logistics sector has implemented new concepts following global best practices, including green initiatives that promote local businesses and create a more sustainable corporate environment.

The Secretary General of the DEC mentioned several flagship organisations involved in logistics, such as Dubai Logistics City and Al Maktoum Airport.

Al Hamli’s comments followed statements by the Minister of Economy in the UAE, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, who forecasted nearly 4 percent growth across the UAE for 2012.

Al Mansouri forecasted growth of almost 4 percent in the emirates this year, noting that this figure is estimated. Improved results could be posted by year end.

Recent reports state that following a 3.9 expansion in 2011, Reuters analysts expect the UAE’s GDP to grow by 3.1 percent this year.

Al Hamli paid particular attention to the logistics sector, noting that it holds a vital role in driving growth. The DEC secretary General stated that logistics represent around 8 to 10 percent of global GDP, and continue to be important not only in Dubai and across the UAE, but also around the world.

He pointed out that logistics saw 20 percent growth over the past few years, experiencing rapid growth in the region. Dubai’s strategic location, robust infrastructure and access to finances, as well as the emirate’s facilitation of custom transactions, have contributed to growth in the logistics sector and attracted higher levels of FDI.

Al Hamli also stated that improvements within the sector are necessary, considering the benefits of recent global developments. The creation of clusters within logistic services was mentioned as a necessary improvement.

Paul Holdsworth, Staff Writer, Gulf Jobs Market News
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