x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

IMF upgrades UAE growth forecast to 4% for this year

The IMF has raised to 4 per cent its forecast for UAE growth this year, the only GCC country to have an upgrade to its outlook.

Economic activity in the UAE is being spearheaded by an uptick in the performance of the property sector. Jaime Puebla / The National
Economic activity in the UAE is being spearheaded by an uptick in the performance of the property sector. Jaime Puebla / The National

The IMF has raised to 4 per cent its forecast for UAE growth this year, the only GCC country to have an upgrade to its outlook.

It also said prospects for expansion in the wider Middle East and North Africa region this year were dimmer. Forecasts for the region were lowered to 2.1 per cent, compared with 3.1 per cent in its previous outlook released in May.

The downgrade was largely down to lower oil output in Libya, Iraq and Iran.

It did not give a reason for its brighter UAE forecast. The IMF revised its outlook for the Emirates from its previous forecast of 3.1 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent next year. Instead, growth would reach 3.9 per cent next year.

Economic activity is being spearheaded by an uptick in the performance of the property sector, along with continued robust output in trade, retail, manufacturing and tourism. Oil production in Abu Dhabi has also picked up.

In its latest World Economic Outlook, the IMF also cut its world growth forecast for the sixth time in under two years. It blamed weakness in emerging markets for the sluggishness, despite brisker activity in the developed world.

It forecast global output to rise 2.9 per cent this year, lower from its previous estimate of 3.1 per cent.

tarnold@thenational.ae