Dubai's 2012 exports increase by 9 per cent to $72bn

16 January 2013

Dubai has record year and is now responsible for 75 per cent of all goods shipped from UAE

Dubai exported more than $72bn-worth of goods in 2012, a 9 per cent increase on 2011 and a record year for the emirate.

In figures published by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry (DCCI) in its annual review, Dubai has posted increased exports despite trade with its previous largest trading partner, Iran, falling by 54 per cent due to sanctions on the Islamist republic.

Exports also fell 50 per cent with Syria, due to the continued civil war in the county. However, exports to Libya rose by more than 300 per cent and to Iraq by 350 per cent.      

Increased spending in Saudi Arabia means the kingdom is Dubai’s largest trading partner and, combined with Qatar, was responsible for more than $25bn of the emirate’s exports. The figures also include re-exported goods transshipped from Dubai. Seventy per cent of imported goods are exported and Dubai’s exports make up 75 per cent of the UAE’s total. 

The DCCI also announced that its membership had increased by 9 per cent year-on-year and now had 140,000 members.

“[Dubai] is definitely seeing a spill-over from the huge investments being made in Saudi Arabia,” says Hamad Buamim, director general of the DCCI. “This is reflected in increased membership [of the DCCI] by real estate companies, as well as other services.”

New membership for the DCCI is also up by 22 per cent, with most new members coming from services industries, including healthcare, law, and real estate.

The increased exports and spending in Dubai means that gross domestic product (GDP) growth of up to 4.5 per cent is expected for 2012.

“In 2009 everyone was criticising [Dubai] because of the debt crisis, but what many people forgot is that [Dubai] is the centre of trade and leisure for this region,” says Buamim. “This is reflected in these numbers.”   

The official also predicted that while real estate was starting to recover, he did not believe Dubai’s construction sector will experience any growth in 2013.

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