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Abu Dhabi Foreign Trade Grows 37.5% in 2008

Total value of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi’s foreign trade (the sum of non-oil exports, re-exports and imports) grew 37.5% to AED 102.8 billion in 2008, up from AED 74.8 billion in 2007, According to a bulletin issued today by the Statistics Center - Abu Dhabi (SCAD).

’’This growth in foreign trade was largely due to the significant upward trend in the value of commodity imports, which showed a growth of 42.5% in 2008, while exports and re-exports grew by 7.8%, and 11.1 %, respectively, during the same year, said the specialized bulletin entitled "Abu Dhabi Foreign Trade - 2008".

The report also pointed out that imports have contributed the largest share (87.8%) of the emirate’s total foreign trade in 2008, while non-oil exports and re-exports contributed 6.1% each.

In addition, the bulletin gave a breakdown of the general components of foreign trade, elaborating on certain important aspects. It also provided an analysis of several aspects of foreign trade, highlighting the development in quantity and value, and reflecting the developments of Abu Dhabi trade with countries of the world through year-on-year comparisons.

The export/import ratio in the bulletin indicated that the growth of imports has not been paralleled by growth in exports at the same pace. The exports/imports ratio (exports including non-oil exports and re-export) climbed from about 7% in 1999 to a peak of 31.5% in 2005 and then declined in the subsequent years, reaching 13.8% in 2008.

It is noteworthy that non-oil exports, alongside oil exports, contribute to the GDP and meet part of the cost of imports that amounted to approximately AED 6.3 billion in 2008, compared to AED 5.8 billion in 2007, thus achieving a growth rate of 7.8%.

The distribution of non-oil exports from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to the world was concentrated in four economic and geographic regions, namely is the GCC countries, which received 45.4% of Abu Dhabi exports, followed by non-Arab Asian countries (35.2%) and other Arab countries (11.6%). The aforementioned regions together accounted for 92.4% of the Emirate’s exports for 2008, with the remaining 7.6% marketed in other countries of the world.

The bulletin’s classification of imports by type of use, which serves as an indicator as to whether the economy is showing a trend towards consumption or investment, reveals evident growth in all segments but more pronounced in terms of value in the non-food consumer goods, which leapt 44.6% to AED 54.3 billion in value in 2008, against AED 37.5 billion in 2007. Imports of these commodities accounted for 60.1% of the total value of imports in 2008. Capital goods topped the list in terms of growth rate (54.8%), making up 23.0% of the value of imports in 2008, while imports of intermediate goods showed the lowest percentage growth of in 2008 (20.4%).

The geographical distribution of imports by the most important economic blocs was dominated by four regions, namely, the European Union, non-Arab Asian countries, GCC states, and the NAFTA countries.

SCAD’s bulletin reported a rise to AED 6 billion in the value of re-exports, which matched non-oil exports and accounted for 7.1% of the value of foreign trade on average, while exports (excluding oil) made up an average of 5.7% of foreign trade.

In terms of commodity groups, machinery, electrical appliances, audio and video recorders, reproducers and parts thereof, transport vehicles and equipment and works of art "antiques" together constituted 71.2% of the value of re-exports in 2008.

The economic and regional distribution of re-exports was dominated by three economic and geographic blocs, led by the GCC bloc, which was the destination of re-exports worth AED 3.6 billion or 58.3% percent of the total re-exported in 2008, compared to AED 2.9 billion in 2007, next to GCC was non-Arab Asian countries (17.4%), followed by non-GCC Arab countries (10.0%), while the remaining 14.3% was marketed in other economic blocs and geographic regions of the world.

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