Bling is still king in the UAE.
New trade statistics show more than a third of the country's imports by value in February consisted of diamonds, gold and finished jewellery. The brisk trade in luxury goods comes as commodity prices rise across the board and gold trades at above US$1,500 an ounce.
Diamonds were the UAE's top import by value in the month, according to Federal Customs Authority data, with Dh7.5 billion ($2.04bn) of the stones brought in. Gold followed at Dh6.9bn of imports and finished jewellery came in at Dh1.9bn.
Total imports of goods stood at Dh45.5bn in February, the statistics show.
As commodity prices rise and commerce picks up globally, overall non-oil trade in the UAE rose 28 per cent in the month compared with February last year.
Globally, trade volumes have risen 18.4 per cent since the first quarter of 2009, when they hit a low, and the end of last year, according to an index from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
"The general trend is a recovery in global trade, and obviously the UAE is a global hub," said Dr Giyas Gokkent, the chief economist at National Bank of Abu Dhabi. "I think as long as you have growth in the global economy and have the bounce from 2009, it's normal to see these kinds of numbers."
The preliminary customs authority data put the total value of non-oil goods traded through the UAE's ports in February this year at Dh70.9bn, up from Dh55.6bn in February last year. Imports rose 24 per cent, the statistics showed. Exports grew 54 per cent to Dh7.3bn, and re-exports - goods that are brought into the country's ports and then sent to other countries - rose 29 per cent to reach Dh18.1bn.
A total of 6.5 million tonnes of goods went through the UAE's ports in February, about 4.2 million tonnes of which were imports, the data revealed.
The UAE imports most of its consumer goods, and its exports are mostly oil from Abu Dhabi's wells. The country is trying to increase non-oil exports as it diversifies the broader economy away from hydrocarbons.