Strong oil prices along with high output boosted the assets of the UAE’s sovereign wealth funds (SWFs) to all time high of around $451 billion at the end of 2012, according to a key Western financial group.
The country’s oil export earnings also soared to their highest level of more than $124
billion, pushing its current account balance to a new peak.
Figures by the Washington-based Institute for International Finance
(IIF) showed the assets of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA) and other SWFs in the second largest Arab economy gained nearly $25 billion in 2012 to end the year at $451 billion.
The increase allowed the UAE to maintain its position as having the largest SWF assets in the Middle East and one of the highest in the world.
Most of the UAE SWF assets are controlled by ADIA, one of the largest SWF in the world and the largest government fund in the region.
The UAE’s SWF assets had steadily climbed over the past years because of high oil prices except in 2008 and 2009 due to the global fiscal distress.
In its December report, IIF projected the UAE SWF assets to climb further to around 483 billion at the end of 2013 and $512 billion at the end of 2014.
The report showed Kuwait has the second largest Arab SWF assets of around $408 billion, controlled mostly by the Kuwait Investment Authority.
It put the assets at $136 billion in Qatar and about $12 billion in Oman, adding that the resources of both funds would swell further in the next two years.
Overall, the total foreign assets of the SWFs in regional oil exporting countries, including Libya, stood at $1,043 billion at the end of 2012 against $935 billion at the end of 2011. The report projected them at $1,153 billion in 2013 and $1.256 billion in 2014.
It showed the surge in the UAE’s assets was a result of a sharp rise in its current account surplus to nearly $60.5 billion in 2012 from
$41.9 billion in 2011.
The rise followed an increase in the country’s oil export earnings to a record high of $124.7 billion in 2012 from $119.2 billion in 2011.
The report forecast the earnings to slip to nearly $121.9 billion in
2013 and $117.8 billion in 2014.