x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Export fall softened by steel and plastics

Abu Dhabi's oil exports fell 11 per cent last year, but the economic effects were eased by a rise in non-oil goods such as steel and plastics.

Abu Dhabi's oil exports fell 11 per cent last year, but the effects on the economy were eased a little by a rise in non-oil goods such as steel and plastics, the Department of Economic Development (DED) says. Oil exports worth Dh313 billion (US$85.21bn) made up 94.5 per cent of gross exports, including re-exports, the DED said yesterday. In 2008, when oil prices hit a record high, the share was 96.5 per cent.

"Abu Dhabi's non-oil exports of goods and services are of relatively low importance compared to oil exports," the DED said. "However, non-oil exports experienced continuous growth which amounted to 30.56 per cent for the entire 2002-2008 period." Total crude oil output from the UAE, where Abu Dhabi is by far the largest producer, fell 12.3 per cent last year as Abu Dhabi cut production in line with OPEC quotas, according to estimates by the International Energy Agency.

At the same time, average prices for West Texas Intermediate, the global oil price benchmark, decreased by 37 per cent to $61.95 a barrel. The Government would "encourage exports of industrial and domestic products by offering direct financial subsidies", the DED said, as part of its effort to increase non-oil exports by 7 per cent a year. Steel and plastics held the largest share of non-oil exports over the past three years, it said, comprising 62.3 per cent of the total. Exports of iron and steel were valued at Dh3.25bn over three years.

The leading market by far was Qatar, which imported 40 per cent of Abu Dhabi's non-oil exports. cstanton@thenational.ae