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Gold makes Dubai exports sparkle

posted on 02/04/2010: 2789 views

All that glisters is gold for Dubai's exports market, which rose 23 per cent in value last year, led by the yellow metal and jewellery.

The growth in the value of exports stemmed from the recession-proof nature of Dubai's products – edibles such as sugar, and gold – while re-exports, which dropped by 8 per cent, were more susceptible to recessionary factors in other markets, said Saed al Awadi, the chief executive of the Dubai Export Development Corp (DEDC).Jewellery and gold were the biggest export items by value, rising 38 per cent to Dh32.9 billion (US$8.95bn) last year, according to Dubai Customs data compiled by the DEDC. Among the largest Dubai-based jewellery exporters were Emirates Gold, Al Ghurair Giga Gold Refinery and Damas International, Mr al Awadi said. "I thought the value would have increased because of the cost [of gold], but also the volume has increased. It's strange,” he said. "It could be because people, they trust gold more than anything else. Instead of putting money in the bank, they buy gold.”The value of overall trade through the emirate fell by 20 per cent. Total trade in the emirate last year reached Dh488.6bn, down 20 per cent from Dh612.8bn in 2008. While the value of re-exports declined to Dh117.7bn, the value of Dubai's exports increased from Dh42.6bn to Dh52.4bn.

The second-fastest growing export by value was plastic products, which rose 27 per cent to Dh2.67bn last year. The third-fastest growing export was foodstuffs, which rose nearly 17 per cent from Dh3bn in 2008 to Dh3.5bn last year. This was driven by confectionery and sugar, led by the Dubai-based Al Khaleej refinery, he said.Ashraf Mahate, the head of export market intelligence at the DEDC, said the growth in the value of exports partially stemmed from a maturing of firms in Dubai. "There is greater investment in terms of producing goods here,” he said. "It also stems from the fact that firms are becoming more open-minded and looking for new markets, and that explains why there is a greater mix of export markets from last year.”Philippe Dauba-Pantanacce, a senior economist at Standard Chartered Bank in Dubai, said the figures must be viewed in perspective.

"Dubai general trade figures were down 20 per cent in 2009, and that is a good reflection of the global trade collapse,” he said. "Re-exports still represent the vast majority of the exports and re-exports.” And with more than two-thirds of the emirate's exports comprising jewellery, Dubai benefited from investors seeking to invest in gold, he said."Dubai has been a hub for jewellery for a long time and has been strengthening this position lately. Certainly the role of gold viewed as a safe haven during the 2009 crisis must have had some impact on the increased exports.” This year, the DEDC is focusing on boosting exports to the Indian subcontinent and Europe, with new offices to be opened in India and Germany, Mr al Awadi said. The new office in India is already in place but will be officially opened in about a month, he said. The DEDC's German office is expected to open in Frankfurt by the end of the year. India was Dubai's biggest trade partner last year, with exports worth Dh21bn, re-exports of Dh24bn and imports of Dh46bn, according to Dubai Customs data provided by DEDC. – The National


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