Stronger global commerce and an easing of the financial crisis helped boost the UAE's non-oil trade by 11 per cent in the first nine months of the year, according to preliminary government statistics.
The upturn in trade to Dh540.5 billion comes amid a rebound in trade globally. World trade volumes went up 9.8 per cent in the first three quarters of the year after falling by 14.5 per cent from the end of 2008 into the beginning of last year, according to an OECD index.
Healthier trade through the UAE's ports was driven by a "remarkable leap" in exports, the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) said in a statement. Non-oil exports grew by 39 per cent compared to the same period last year, the customs body said.
Imports grew by a more muted 5 per cent. But imports remain a much bigger part of non-oil trade than exports. The UAE imported goods and services worth Dh350.6bn in the first nine months, customs statistics say, compared to Dh61.8bn of non-oil exports. Re-exports, or goods exported to other countries immediately after they are brought into the UAE's ports, rose to about Dh128bn.
Non-oil trade volumes - and especially non-oil exports - are closely watched across the Gulf as a gauge of economic diversification and the health of the private sector. For the UAE, oil exports currently account for roughly 40 per cent of both trade and GDP, according to IMF figures.
The FCA said earlier this month that this year's rise in trade "reflects the extent of success achieved through the policies pursued by the wise government in abating the negative repercussions of the global economic crisis".