The Economy of The United Arab Emirates

The Economy of The United Arab Emirates

Emirati Economy

Economy - overview: The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Successful efforts at economic diversification have reduced the portion of GDP based on oil and gas output to 25%. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up utilities to greater private sector involvement. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement with the US. The country's Free Trade Zones - offering 100% foreign ownership and zero taxes - are helping to attract foreign investors. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, housing shortages, and cheap credit in 2005-07 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. The global financial crisis and the resulting tight international credit market and falling oil prices have already begun to deflate asset prices and will result in slower economic growth for 2009. Dependence on oil and a large expatriate workforce are significant long-term challenges. The UAE's strategic plan for the next few years focuses on diversification and creating more opportunities for nationals through improved education and increased private sector employment.


GDP - real growth rate: 7.7% (2008 est.) 7.6% (2007 est.) 9.4% (2006 est.)

GDP - per capita:

GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 1.6% industry: 61.8% services: 36.6% (2008 est.)

Population below poverty line:

Household income or consumption by percentage share: lowest 10%: NA% highest 10%: NA%

Distribution of family income - Gini index:

Inflation rate (consumer prices):

Labor force: 3.266 million (2008 est.)

Labor force - by occupation: agriculture: 7% industry: 15% services: 78% (2000 est.)

Unemployment rate: 2.4% (2001)

Budget: revenues: $83.15 billion expenditures: $48.3 billion (2008 est.)

Industries: petroleum and petrochemicals; fishing, aluminum, cement, fertilizers, commercial ship repair, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, textiles

Industrial production growth rate: 7.7% (2008 est.)

Electricity - production: 62.76 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - production by source:

Electricity - consumption: 57.88 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (2007 est.)

Oil - production: 2.948 million bbl/day (2007 est.)

Oil - consumption: 381,000 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Oil - exports: 2.703 million bbl/day (2005 est.)

Oil - imports: 232,300 bbl/day (2005)

Oil - proved reserves: 97.8 billion bbl (1 January 2008 est.)

Natural gas - production: 48.79 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - consumption: 43.11 billion cu m (2006 est.)

Natural gas - exports: 6.848 billion cu m (2005 est.)

Natural gas - imports: 1.343 billion cu m (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves: 6.071 trillion cu m (1 January 2008 est.)

Agriculture - products: dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish

Exports: $207.7 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Exports - commodities: crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates

Exports - partners: Japan 23.6%, South Korea 9.2%, Thailand 5%, India 4.8% (2007)

Imports: $141.1 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Imports - commodities: machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

Imports - partners: China 12.8%, India 10%, US 8.7%, Japan 6.1%, Germany 5.9%, UK 5.3%, Italy 4.6% (2007)

Debt - external: $73.71 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Economic aid - recipient:


Currency code:

Exchange rates: Emirati dirhams (AED) per US dollar - 3.6725 (2008 est.), 3.6725 (2007), 3.6725 (2006), 3.6725 (2005), 3.6725 (2004) note: officially pegged to the US dollar since February 2002

Fiscal year:

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