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Key Economic Indicators Show UAE is Well Placed

Middle East : 14 September 2012

Source: Khaleej Times

DUBAI — The continuation of the turnaround of the UAE economy in 2012 from 2011 is a welcome relief, however availability of liquidity will remain the key to the turnaround, the CEO of Daman Investments , one of the leading UAE-based investment management companies, said on Wednesday.

Shehab Gargash was commenting on the current and future financial landscape and the company’s updates while releasing the Daman Investments GCC Economic Report 2012 at a media roundtable in Dubai.
In his analysis, Gargash dealt with real estate, financial markets, trade tourism and transport, and banks.

“We had expressed cautious optimism in our 2011 report. The continuation of the turnaround proves the strong footing of the UAE economy. The UAE has emerged as haven of stability despite political, economic and social upheaval in the region, although challenges still remain,” Gargash said.

He said that the key economic indicators show that the UAE economy is well positioned and moving ahead. The real GDP growth is forecast to increase from 3.3 per cent in 2011 to 3.5 per cent in 2012 and to 6.4 per cent in 2016.

The non-oil GDP has shown very impressive recovery from an estimated one per cent in 2010 to 6.7 per cent in 2011. Of it, construction and real estate are showing positive and healthy growth, Gargash said.

He said that the UAE was second after Saudi Arabia in GCC in attracting FDI. Gargash said that real estate is seeing the beginning of its recovery as of mid-2012.

He said that although the number of land transactions in Dubai has remained the same, the value has increased. Residential rentals are also up in Dubai and there are not many new projects.

Real estate mortgage loans were 16 per cent of total credit facilities in the UAE in 2011, he said. The real estate exposure of banks operating in the UAE was Dh232 billion at end 2011, 21.5 per cent of deposits and 21.3 per cent of loans and advances.

Gargash said that the financial markets in the UAE were moving sideways for the past three years. The UAE market has witnessed a significant rise in the value traded this year over 2011, but liquidity remains a challenge. While individual buying is higher, the institutional investor is small and weak in the GCC.

In asset allocation, equities remained more attractive and quarterly results were positive. He said that fixed income was a limited time window, a bountiful period for two to three years which is now closing and the funds will switch to areas with better yield, such as real estate.

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