Soaring gold prices helped to propel non-oil trade for the UAE up 18 per cent in May.
Foreign non-oil trade rose to Dh73 billion (US$19.87bn) during the month, up from Dh61.6bn during the same period last year, data released yesterday by the Federal Customs Authority showed. Gold was the leading import, accounting for Dh7.9bn of inbound trade. Similarly, the precious metal was also the biggest export in May, with Dh4.6bn of gold shipments leaving the country.
Prices of gold have reached new highs this year as concerns about the global economy have driven investors into perceived haven assets.
As a centre for the refinery and retail of gold, the UAE has benefited from rising demand. It also gained from its status as an important re-exporter.
Diamonds were the second most valuable import, with Dh3.2bn worth of the commodity entering the UAE during May. India, China, the US, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and the UK were the leading non-oil exporters to the UAE, accounting for 60 per cent of total imports.
A total of 68 per cent of the country's non-oil exports headed to India, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, France, Singapore, Iraq and Hong Kong.
Iran, India, Iraq, Belgium, Hong Kong, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Bahrain and Qatar accounted for 70 per cent of May's non-oil re-exports.