The UAE’s continuous improvement in competitiveness helped it to become Asia’s third strongest economy, said a think-tank in its recently-released annual report.
“The UAE’s overall economic strength has surpassed China up to 3rd,” Boao Forum for Asia said in its Asian Competitiveness Annual Report 2013.'
The results, based on a full-year study by the think-tank, of assessment of 37 Asian and Middle Eastern countries showed that the UAE was the 7th strongest economy of Asia last year but improved its ranking further in 2012 to third, surpassing China, South Korea, Taiwan and Qatar.
Overall, the rankings of the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, Kuwait, and Kazakhstan outstripped Asean emerging economies, especially the UAE who came in at 6th thanks to its rapid economic development, healthy economic environment, low inflation and unemployment rate, a government debt to GDP standing at 16.9 per cent and national savings over 30 per cent.
“The UAE’s economy developed more productively compared with other oil-export West Asian countries, despite a mild 5.2 per cent economic growth rate. Additionally, its inflation rate is only 0.88 per cent, unemployment rate four per cent and government debts to GDP ratio as low as 16.89 per cent. With a stable industrial structure and low risky financial environment, the United Arab Emirates ranked high,”Boao report said.
Amongst other Middle Eastern and Central Asian resource-export economies, Bahrain ranks 7th, Kazakhstan 9th, Oman 10th and Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar from 12th-14th. Jordan performs poorly amongst Middle East economies at 24th.
In the category of competitiveness, the UAE was rated 6th among 37 Asian countries, ahead of China, Japan, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Turkey and other countries.
The emirate’s ranking jumped from 14th in 2011 to 6th in 2012. The top ranking is dominated by “East Asian Tigers” namely Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea and Australia.
Regionally, Hong Kong and Singapore retained their first and second positions, respectively, for the second consecutive year. Other economies in the top ten include China, Taiwan, Korea, Bahrain, Australia, Kazakhstan and Oman.
The UAE was rated 27th in rankings of Commercial and Administrative Efficiency Indicator for Asian Economies. In the development of infrastructure development, the emirate dropped three places to be rated 8th in the Asian region.
“The UAE improved its infrastructure construction somewhat, but its greatly reduced power supply pulled down its ranking,” Boao Forum report said.
In the sub-index of Human Capital and Innovation Capability, the emirate was rated 17th in the report.
Boao report said: Middle Eastern and central Asian oil export countries benefited from the oil price hike in 2012… The rise of oil prices contributed to the Middle East’s oil export economies and pushed their rankings upwards.