x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Gold adds shine to Dubai trade figures

Dubai's exports and re-exports hit record highs as the price of gold surges.

Gold prices have hit fresh record highs this week.
Gold prices have hit fresh record highs this week.

Soaring gold prices have helped Dubai record a substantial increase in international trade.

The value of exports and re-exports handled by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry passing through the emirate's ports and airports rose 16.4 per cent to Dh120.2 billion (US$32.72bn) in the first half of the year compared with the same period last year.

"The trade sector plays such a major role in the overall health of Dubai's economy that this is certainly a strong indicator the economy is on track to meet its forecast percentage growth this year," said Hamad Buamim, the director general of the Dubai Chamber.

Exports and re-exports combined were worth Dh211bn last year, according to a report from Dubai Exports, putting the emirate on course to beat last year's sales.

Much of the increase is the result of a high price of gold, which accounted for 60 per cent of Dubai's direct exports last year, the report said.

The price of the yellow metal has risen throughout the year to a record high of $1,671.30 per troy ounce yesterday, following months of uncertainty over the health of public finances in the US and Europe.

Gold is traditionally considered a haven by investors and has seen its value double since the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in September 2008.

The Dubai Chamber issued 344,067 certificates of origin, which are used in international trade to signify goods produced locally, in the first half, an increase of 8 per cent on the same time last year.

Efforts to develop the emirate's manufacturing capabilities led to the sector accounting for 13.2 per cent of Dubai's GDP last year, according to the Dubai Statistics Centre.

The gathering pace of economic recovery is bolstering demand among international trading partners and profitability among their supplier based in Dubai, said Jarmo Kotilaine, the chief economist at National Commercial Bank.

"You had far less disruptions in the operations of existing companies [this year]. At the trough of the credit crunch, you had companies struggle with their payments and operations were suspended," he said.

"Volumes have gone up with big Indian and Chinese markets. India is particularly important for Dubai, and the growth has been strong," Mr Kotilaine added.

However, he warned the worsening macroeconomic picture in Europe and the US could spell a soft patch for exporters during the latter half of the year, with many commodities down from price highs earlier in the year.

 

ghunter@thenational.ae