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United Arab Emirates

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Summary

The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US, however, those talks have not moved forward. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. The global financial crisis, tight international credit, and deflated asset prices constricted the economy in 2009 and 2010. UAE authorities tried to blunt the crisis by increasing spending and boosting liquidity in the banking sector. The crisis hit Dubai hardest, as it was heavily exposed to depressed real estate prices. Dubai lacked sufficient cash to meet its debt obligations, prompting global concern about its solvency. The UAE Central Bank and Abu Dhabi-based banks bought the largest shares. In December 2009 Dubai received an additional $10 billion loan from the emirate of Abu Dhabi. The economy is expected to continue a slow rebound. Dependence on oil, a large expatriate workforce, and growing inflation pressures are significant long-term challenges. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.

Central bank

Central Bank of United Arab Emirates

International Reserves

US$ 42.785 billion (Source: World Bank; Data updated: November 2010)

Gross Domestic Product - GDP

US$ 363.815 billion (2010 estimate)

GDP (Purchasing Power Parity)

257.736 billion of International dollars (2010 estimate)

Real GDP growth

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

12.4%

1.7%

2.6%

11.9%

9.7%

8.2%

8.7%

6.1%

2008

2009

2010

2011*

5.1%

-3.2%

3.2%

3.3%

*Estimate

GDP per capita - current prices

US$ 69,872 (2009 estimate)

GDP per capita - PPP

$49,500 International Dollars (2009 estimate)

GDP (PPP) - share of world total

1980

1990

2000

2010

2015**

0.23%

0.19%

0.2%

0.33%

0.32%

**Forecast

GDP - composition by sector

  • agriculture: 1.1%
  • industry: 48.5%
  • services: 50.4% (2009 estimate)
  • (Data released on November 2010)

Gross domestic expenditure on R&D (% of GDP)

N/A

(Data released on November 2010)

Inflation

2008

2009

2010

2011*

12.3%

1.6%

0.9%

4.5%

*Estimate

Unemployment rate

2008

2009

2010

2011*

N/A

N/A

N/A

N/A

*Estimate

Household saving rates

N/A

(Data released on November 2010)

Public debt (General government gross debt as a % of GDP)

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011*

9.8%

15.5%

22.5%

21%

16.4%

*Estimate

Public deficit (General government net lending/borrowing as a % of GDP)

2007

2008

2009

2010*

2011**

16.8%

18.2%

-6.3%

1.6%

7.9%

*Estimate   **Forecast

Government bond ratings

Standard & Poor's: N/A

Moody's rating: Aa2

Moody's outlook: STA

(Foreign Currency Government Bond Ratings; Data last updated Nov 2010)

Market value of publicly traded shares

2007

2008

2009

US$224.675 billion

US$97.852 billion

US$109.62 billion

Largest companies in The United Arab Emirates

National Bank of Abu Dhabi (Major Banks), Emirates NBD (Regional Banks), First Gulf Bank (Regional Banks), DP World (Other Tranportation), TAQA (Electric Utilities), Emaar Properties (Real Estate), Union National Bank (Regional Banks)

(2011)

Contact

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