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 Dubai Economic Report 2018

Full Report



In Brief


Dubai and the Global Economy (in 2017-2018)  - Chapter 1

Dubai's economic base is diversified, yet closely intertwined with the growth rates of its international trading partners, and this complex relationship can positively boost or lower the impact of financial trends worldwide. This chapter presents historical data on Dubai's annual GDP and the correlating economic performance of other selected advanced and emerging world economies. Background data is also presented on Dubai's trading relationships with regional GCC partners as well as major players such as China, the US, Russia and India.

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Infographic: Bright Spots in an Economic Slowdown


Recent Developments in Dubai's Economy - Chapter 2

 This chapter reviews the performance of the main macroeconomic indicators of Dubai’s economy: the size of total output, total GDP growth rates, trends in the development of per capita GDP, the structure of the economy and the sectoral contribution to growth, inflation, money and liquidity, the AED exchange rate, interest rates, and government finances.

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 Infographic: Diversified Economy Secret to Dubai’s GDP


Dubai’s Foreign Trade - Chapter 3

 Foreign trade is an economic stronghold for Dubai and the total value of the Emirate's merchandise trade in 2017 accounted for over three times its GDP. Dubai is ideally positioned for global commerce, with three ports, two airports and 30 free trade zones. However other factors contribute significantly to peaks and declines in Dubai's foreign trade. These include the fluctuating currency rate of the AED against the Euro and other major currencies except the US dollar, variations in oil prices, and global political and economic developments that impact import, export, re-exports engagements with countries that are main trade partners.

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Infographic: Free Zones on the Rise

Sustainable Tourism for Dubai’s Economic Development - Chapter 4

This chapter highlights the tourism sector’s important contribution to Dubai’s economic growth and how it is fundamental to the successful diversification of the emirate’s economy and that of the UAE as a whole. However, tourism generates undeniable economic benefits, as well as long-term costs and challenges. The focus of this chapter, and a major theme of this year’s report, addresses these challenges in the context of sustainable tourism.

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Infographic: Dubai’s Action Plan for Sustainable Tourism

Wholesale and Retail Trade - Chapter 5

Wholesale and retail trade is the most important activity in the services sector in Dubai and in 2017 it represented 26.6 per cent of GDP (in constant prices). The wholesale and retail sector has evolved over the years, due to factors such as the creation of a modern and robust infrastructure, effective distribution channels to neighbouring emirates, rapid urbanization and the shift of shopping centres to suburbs instead of town centres. This chapter identifies strengths and challenges to Dubai’s retail trade, along with its important correlation to the tourism sector.

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Infographic: The Impact of Tourism on Retail Sales

Banking, Insurance and Capital Markets - Chapter 6

Banking, capital markets and insurance activities accounted for the third largest sectoral contribution to Dubai’s GDP in 2017 generating value added of AED 40.5 billion or 10.1 per cent of the total. In terms of employment, the sector ranked in 11th place among 20 sectors in the economy and labour productivity was among the highest with AED 868,785 per worker, in 3rd place.

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Infographic: DIFC Creating New Horizons for a Bright Financial Future

Transport, Storage, Communications and Information Technology - Chapter 7This chapter highlights the importance of these sectors as drivers of economic growth, foreign investment, a well-managed infrastructure to effectively support transport of goods in and around the country, and a world class road system and modern public transportation system by metro, bus, taxi, waterbuses and ferries, and mass transit. The UAE ranks first globally in terms of government procurement of high technology products and innovation capacity. The ICT sector is attractive to foreign direct investment (FDI) which has doubled over the last decade (2007-2016), reaching USD$6,017 million in 2016.

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Infographic: Economic Growth Promoted by World Class Infrastructure

Construction and Real Estate Activities - Chapter 8

The real estate sector in Dubai is fuelled by property acquisitions by GCC nationals as well as freehold investments by foreign investors. Transactions (sales and mortgages) in the Dubai real estate market increased in terms of value and number in 2017, rising in value from AED 268 billion in 2016 to AED 284 billion in 2017. To provide sustainable economic benefits from the Expo 2020 project, the Government has allocated AED 23 billion for infrastructure projects. Real estate development drives the pace of construction, the most labour-intensive sector in Dubai, and employing 27.6 per cent of workers in Dubai (about 556,000 workers in 2016).

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Infographic: Construction and Real Estate Projected to Grow


Industry - Chapter 9

Dubai’s industrial sectors, Manufacturing, Mining and Quarrying and Electricity and Gas, are important pillars of the economy. The Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030 aims to boost the global competitiveness of Dubai’s industrial sectors and make them a powerful economic growth engine. The strategy’s key objectives: transform Dubai’s industrial sector to be innovation-based; a home for global businesses; to be environmentally sustainable and support a green economy; and to adopt Islamic standards to manufacture “Halal” products and contribute to Dubai’s goal to become the capital of the Islamic economy.

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Infographic: Dubai Industrial Strategy 2030

Energy and Water - Chapter 10

The demand for electricity in Dubai is impacted by its desert climate and tied with economic growth and increased population in the emirate. The main energy issue is the widening gap between locally available resources in Dubai and the demand for different types of energy. The top challenge is securing investments in high-cost energy infrastructure to accommodate future expansions. The Government is proactively addressing these issues with initiatives such as the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which has the goal of transforming Dubai into a global clean energy and green economy hub, and making it one of the world’s ten least carbon footprint cities.

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Infographic: Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050

Developments in Social Indicators - Chapter 11

This chapter highlights developments in social indicators in Dubai affecting the welfare of the population. Rapid population growth is a key issue. Dubai’s population has grown at an average rate of 6.6 per cent per year, now topping about 3 million people in 2017. Increased population has also required the evolution of education and health services. These social areas are important for economic development and the Government has taken great care to create and manage services to improve social welfare and a good quality of life for people in the UAE. The results are positive — the UAE ranks first among Arab countries and 21st globally in the World Happiness Report.

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Infographic: The Happiest Arab Country



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