Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade climbs 31% to $197bn in the first half of 2021

Exports in the first six months rose 45 per cent to Dh109.8bn from Dh75.8bn posted in the same period last year

Trade and logistics are expected to account for two thirds of Dubai's economy by 2015.
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Dubai’s non-oil external trade increased 31 per cent in the first half of 2021, as its economy continued to recover on the back of a rapid vaccination programme and government stimulus measures.

Total foreign trade during the period reached Dh722.3 billion ($197bn) from Dh550.6bn in the same period last year, reinforcing the emirate's status as one of the world’s fastest growing business hubs, the Dubai Media Office said on Sunday.

Exports rose 45 per cent to Dh109.8bn while imports grew 29.3 per cent to Dh414bn. The value of the re-exports was up 28.3 per cent year-on-year to Dh198.6bn.

The numbers support the goal of the 10 x 10 programme (one of the nation’s "Projects of the 50" initiatives) to increase the UAE’s exports to 10 global markets by 10 per cent annually, the Dubai Media Office said.

"The accelerated pace of external trade growth reflects Dubai’s growing global role in facilitating and streamlining worldwide trade and supply chains," Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council, said.

The growth, he said, reflected Dubai’s strategic plan to consolidate its position as a global logistics and trade hub that connected the world’s diverse markets.

"Dubai’s existing sea and air network will be expanded to cover 200 new cities around the world. We are confident that we will continue to build on our growth momentum to achieve our ambitious sustainable development projects and plans.”

With Dubai set to host the Expo 2020, a six-month global trade fair attracting delegates from all over the world, the emirate’s trade performance further raises its profile as a "trading powerhouse”, Sheikh Hamdan said.

Dubai’s economy is forecast to expand 3.1 per cent this year, helped by effective policy measures that minimised the impact of Covid-19, according to the latest government projections. The emirate has unveiled stimulus packages worth Dh7.1bn since the outbreak of Covid-19 to support the economy, businesses and people.

China continued to be Dubai's biggest trading partner in the first half of 2021 with Dh86.7bn worth of trade, up 30.7 per cent from the corresponding period in 2020, the media office said.

Dubai's trade with India, the UAE’s second-largest trading partner, grew 74.5 per cent year-on-year to Dh67.1bn. Trade with the US grew 1 per cent to Dh32bn.

Saudi Arabia was fourth with Dh30.5bn in trade, up 26 per cent year-on-year, followed by Switzerland with Dh24.8bn up 2.3 per cent from the same period last year, the media office said.

"Dubai is at the forefront of international economic recovery and we are on track to increase our global trade to Dh2 trillion in the coming years. Trade is turning into the main growth catalyst of the economy of the UAE and Dubai," Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group chairman and chief executive, and chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, said.

In commodities, gold topped the list in Dubai's first-half external trade at Dh138.8bn, accounting for 19.2 per cent of the emirate's trade, followed by telecoms at Dh94bn and diamonds at Dh57.3bn, the media office statistics showed.

Updated: September 27, 2021, 6:24 AM