x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

UAE trade outlook upbeat

An HSBC survey shows that traders here believe the country will do better than other regional hubs.

The UAE beat out other regional trade hubs such as Singapore and Hong Kong as the country most likely to experience rapid growth in foreign trade over the next three months, according to a survey by HSBC released today. The survey indicated that traders dealing in the UAE are the most enthusiastic about growth prospects out of those surveyed in seven other major trade hubs throughout Asia and the Pacific. Although the financial crisis has slowed trade globally, those surveyed showed they expect the country to rebound faster from the crisis than other trade hubs in Asia and the Pacific. "Trade is the lifeblood of the UAE economy," said Kersi Patel, regional head of trade and supply chain at HSBC. "The UAE has exerted enormous efforts to boost the trade sector by investing heavily in trade related infrastructure and providing incentives even in the current difficult environment." Increasing non-oil trade is a cornerstone of the UAE's plan to diversify its economy away from hydrocarbon sales. However, although the total value of the country's non-oil exports surged last year, imports outpaced the export growth, showing that the country became more rather than less dependent on oil sales in 2008. Out of the respondents to the HSBC survey, 39 per cent said they will need better access to trade finance if they are to grow at desired rates, compared to 30 per cent in Hong Kong and 20 per cent in Singaport. Overall, the UAE scored 115.2 points on HSBC's trade confidence index, compared to Singapore's 99.9 and Hong Kong's 93.1, two major global trading centres. tpantin@thenational.ae