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Dubai non-oil trade jumps 19 pct in Jan-Oct

Imports increase 15 pct y/y in Jan-Oct.

January 10, 2011 2:08 by

The value of Dubai’s foreign trade jumped 19 percent to 475 billion dirhams ($129.4 billion) in the first ten months of 2010, boosted by global economic recovery, data from the Gulf Arab emirate’s customs showed on Monday.

The global crisis and local debt woes had been weighing on business activity in Dubai, the member of the United Arab Emirates and the regional trade hub. But the economy of the emirate known for ambitious projects is slowly coming back.

Ahmed Butti Ahmed, Director General of Dubai Customs, said in a statement the statistics indicated positive business trends as well as improving purchasing power in the emirate. Annual trade dynamics was a tad higher than in January-September.

Direct non-oil exports surged 36 percent year-on-year to 56.5 billion dirhams in January-October 2010, the strongest rise in last five years, while re-exports were up by 23 percent at 118 billion, a record increase, the data showed.

Imports, which account for 63 percent of Dubai’s overall trade activity 15 percent to 300 billion dirhams in the same period.

Inflation in Dubai, which as the rest of the desert-covered Gulf heavily relies on food imports, has been anaemic last year, running at mere 0.5 percent year-on-year in November despite rising global food prices.

The International Monetary Fund said in October the economy of Dubai, which accounts for around 80 percent of the UAE non-oil trade, was likely to grow by 0.5 percent in 2010, after shrinking 0.9 percent in the previous year, due to a pick-up in its foreign trade.

The statistics office expected Dubai’s gross domestic product to rise by 2.3 percent in 2010.  Official real GDP figures from previous years are not available.

Last month, Sami al-Qamzi, director general of Dubai’s Department of Economic Development, said the emirate’s economy was expected to grow 3-3.5 percent this year, while inflation should remain at or below 4 percent.

Two government officials said last month Dubai’s non-oil exports may grow 20 percent in 2011 as new doors to African markets open and the government is not expected to impose any new tariffs on trade.

(Editing by Toby Chopra)

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