UAE’s non-oil foreign trade up 27% to AED900 billion in H1-2021

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The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade recorded a 27% growth in H1 2021 compared to H1 2020, indicating a rapid recovery in the country’s non-oil foreign trade and its return to growth trajectory.

This also indicates a 6% growth in the country’s non-oil foreign trade compared to the pre-pandemic level in 2019.

According to preliminary data released by the Ministry of Economy, the total value of the country’s non-oil foreign trade amounted to nearly AED900 billion in the first half of 2021. The value of non-oil exports alone amounted to AED170 billion during this period, posting a growth of 44% compared to the first half of 2020 and 41% compared to the same period in 2019.

The contribution of non-oil exports to the country’s total non-oil foreign trade during the same period (first half of 2021) grew to 19% from 16.6% in 2020 and 14.2% in 2019.

Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said that the non-oil foreign trade data for the first half of 2021 reveals a significant and promising growth in the total volume of trade over the past two years, despite the pandemic’s impact on the global trade movement.

Furthermore, significant growth in non-oil exports is a clear indication of the rapid recovery and the return to the growth trajectory and the overall growth in the country’s foreign trade movement in general and in promoting national non-oil exports particularly.

“These indicators confirm the efficiency of the forward-looking vision and proactive plans implemented by the UAE under the guidance and support of its wise leadership to deal with the pandemic’s impact on the foreign trade sector. It shows the country’s success in developing flexible, open and long-term policies to maintain the attractiveness of its trade and business environment.,” Al Zeyoudi added.

An analytical study by the Ministry of Economy on the preliminary data of non-oil foreign trade activities revealed that the value of UAE’s gold exports exceeded AED70 billion in H1 2021. It shows a growth of 48% compared to H1 2020, while the rest of the non-oil exports except gold totaled AED98 billion with a growth of 42% compared to H1 2020 and 20% compared to H1 2019. It also revealed that 87% of the country’s non-oil exports are locally made and that 13% come from free zones and customs warehouses.

Gold, ornaments and jewelry; aluminum; plastics, copper and articles thereof; iron and steel and articles thereof; are the five most important non-oil exports of the country. Their total value witnessed a growth of 50% in the first half of 2021 compared to the first half of 2020, and 47.4% compared to the same period in 2019.

Re-exports, which totaled AED 238 billion in the H1 2021, witnessed a growth of 22% compared to the same period in 2020. Furthermore, 46% of the re-exports are from the local market and 54% from free zones.

The total value of imports during the same period exceeded AED482 billion indicating a growth of 24% compared to H1 2020 and 3% compared to H1 2019. Up to 66% of the imports go to the local market and 34% to free zones and customs warehouses.

The study conducted by the Ministry further indicated that with regard to the total non-oil trade of the country, 65% of it is with the local market, while free zones and customs warehouses account for the remaining 35%. The study also showed that 46% of this trade takes place by air, 35% by sea, and 20% by land.

The country’s non-oil trade significantly grew with the five fastest growing economies in the first half of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020. These are China, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey and Italy. Meanwhile, the country’s top five export destinations during the same comparison period include India, Saudi Arabia, Hong Kong, Kuwait and China. The UAE’s top re-export partners include Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Egypt.

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