The UAE’s GDP will climb to its highest level of around $385 billion in current prices in 2012 to maintain its position as the largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia, regional data showed on Wednesday.
At that level, the UAE will account for more than a fifth of the combined GDP of the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), forecast at around $1.46 trillion this year, its highest ever, the Saudi-based Federation of GCC chambers of commerce and industry (FGCCI) said in a report,
It showed Saudi Arabia’s GDP will reach $622 billion while it was estimated at $197 billion in Qatar, $181 billion in Kuwait, $77 billion in Oman and around $26 billion in Bahrain. “The GCC’s GDP is projected to grow by around seven per cent in current prices this year while real growth is expected at 4.6 per cent.”
The report, citing the IMF and National Bank of Kuwait, expected UAE real GDP growth at 2.4 per cent in 2012, while it estimated growth at 3.8 per cent in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, 3.4 per cent in Bahrain, 4.4 per cent in Oman and as high as 9.8 per cent in Qatar, the world’s largest LNG exporter.
Turning to finance, the report said strong oil prices would allow the GCC members to record massive current account surpluses for the second year running in 2012, with that of the UAE estimated at $29 billion. The surplus was projected at around $124 billion in Saudi Arabia, $62 billion in Kuwait, $41 billion in Qatar, $eight billion in Oman and $two billion in Bahrain.
The GCC’s exports of goods are expected to fall back to around $850 billion in 2012 from $930 billion in 2011 as a result of lower crude prices and output while imports are forecast to rise to $578 billion from $483 billion. The report forecast oil prices to slip to an average $110 in 2012 from $112 in 2011.