UAE economy in 'strong position' and growing, minister says

The economy has passed the recovery phase and is in 'high readiness' for the future, Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq says

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, November 3, 2020.   The UAE flag, Corniche.
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The UAE economy has passed the recovery phase and is registering growth in key indicators, according to the government.

The national economy is in a "strong position" and stands at "high readiness" for the future, the UAE Media Office said in a tweet, citing Minister of Economy Abdulla bin Touq.

The UAE, which approved 33 initiatives in August 2020 to support various sectors during the Covid-19 pandemic, said progress on the three-phase plan is under way.

The first phase of the recovery and economic advancement plan, which provided immediate support to businesses, is 100 per cent complete, the UAE Media Office said, citing the committee tasked with co-ordinating and following up on the carrying out of the 33 initiatives.

The second phase, which provides complementary support to sectors to enable a rapid economic recovery, is 50 per cent complete, it said.

The third phase will involve the provision of "integrated support to vital sectors and will open up a sustainable and flexible development path for the economy", the Ministry of Economy said.

The UAE has spent billions of dirhams in economic stimulus measures to support businesses since the Covid-19 outbreak began last year. Business activity in the non-oil private sectors of the Arab world’s second-biggest economy continued to improve in October, boosted by the easing of Covid-19 restrictions, a rise in tourism and increased spending amid the economic recovery.

The UAE's headline PMI reading climbed to 55.7 in October, from 53.3 in September, underpinning a marked increase in new business during the month, driven by rising spending amid the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai. A reading above 50 indicates economic expansion while anything below points to a contraction.

The UAE Cabinet, headed by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, approved the launch of the 33 initiatives to support various economic sectors on August 3, 2020.

It also approved the formation of an interim committee to oversee measures to put into effect the 33 initiatives, raise growth rates and create a stimulating environment for business, according to state-run news agency Wam.

The committee will provide new opportunities by developing emerging sectors, harnessing technology, boosting investment in new sectors and enhancing the sustainability and resilience of the national economy.

The UAE economy has made a strong recovery this year, boosted by fiscal and monetary support, as well as other government measures.

The stimulus announced by the Central Bank of the UAE included a Dh100 billion ($27.2bn) package and comprised a direct Dh50bn injection of funds through zero-cost collateralised loans.

The Targeted Economic Support Scheme (Tess) has benefitted both people and businesses, and helped the banks in managing liquidity during the crisis.

Although the central bank said in September it will start a “gradual and well-calibrated withdrawal” of Tess, parts of which were extended to July 2022, about “95 per cent of banks have surrendered Tess because they no longer need it”, Abdulaziz Al Ghurair, chairman of the UAE Banks Federation, said in October.

It is an indication of the economic recovery, as customers are “out of trouble and they don’t need support”, he said.

“It is a very good sign when the banks voluntarily give up support,” Mr Al Ghurair said. “I do not think we need any support from the central bank. I think the Central Bank, the government and the country have done enough to support various parts of the economy.”

The UAE economy is forecast to grow 2.1 per cent this year, driven by pandemic-mitigation measures, according to the central bank's second-quarter review.

The economy is expected to grow 4.2 per cent in 2022, higher than the previous forecast of 3.8 per cent.

A rapid Covid-19 vaccination programme and widespread testing in the UAE have also boosted economic activity.

Updated: November 07, 2021, 11:01 AM