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Abu Dhabi may beat 2012 GDP growth forecast

posted on 23/10/2012: 3391 views


Abu Dhabi's economic growth this year will probably beat the government's estimates as non-oil industries in the emirate expand, the Department for Economic Development said. "I expect it will be better than 3.9 per cent,”

Undersecretary Mohamed Omar Abdulla said in an interview. "We encourage banks to go for productive activity to encourage the manufacturing and industry sectors.”

The Abu Dhabi government, which runs one of the world's richest sovereign wealth funds is seeking to bolster non-oil industries.

This year's forecast, which Abdulla said was "conservative,” exceeds the International Monetary Fund's 3.3 per cent estimate for global economic growth.

The emirate, which holds Standard & Poor's third-highest investment grade, expects non-oil output to accelerate at an average pace of 6.5 per cent a year through 2016. Non-oil industries, which accounted for 48 per cent of gross domestic product in 2011, will expand 5.5 per cent in 2012 from 4.1 per cent last year, according to government forecasts. Non-oil merchandise exports from the emirate's ports more than doubled in July compared with the same month last year and imports declined 6.7 per cent. The government published real GDP annual data for the first time this month.

"Beating estimates is always positive, but without historical data or any breakdown for 2012, it's hard to see which sectors may have performed better than expected,” Khatija Haque, senior economist at Emirates NBD said. "Oil production estimates for the UAE show a strong increase this year, so that may contribute to a better than expected outcome.”

UAE oil production has risen 3 per cent so far this, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Oil prices fell as low as US$77.69 a barrel in June this year. Crude for November delivery rose as much as 75 cents to US$90.80 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange and was at US$90.27 as of 1:37pm in London.

National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the nation's second-largest lender by assets, is 70 per cent owned by the Abu Dhabi Investment Council, and Aldar Properties, the emirate's largest developer, is 35 per cent owned by government-run Mubadala Development Co. – Bloomberg

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