Abu Dhabi residents richer by Dh22,000

A surge in oil prices boosted Abu Dhabi’s GDP by nearly 16 per cent in current prices in 2010 and this pushed up the emirate’s per capita income by around Dh22,000 to one of the world’s highest levels.

The per capita income increased despite a rise of around 140,000 in Abu Dhabi’s population during that period, official data showed.

From around Dh293,100 in 2009, Abu Dhabi’s GDP per capita swelled to nearly Dh315,300 in 2010, the second highest level after the peak per capita in 2008, showed the figures by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

The increase allowed Abu Dhabi to maintain its position as one of the wealthiest nations and second only to Qatar in the Arab world.

The rise was a result of a 15.9 per cent growth in nominal GDP to around Dh620,000 in 2010 from nearly Dh535,000 in 2009, DED said in its 2010 economic report released in batches this week.

The report showed there was growth in most sectors, except electricity and water. The hydrocarbon sector recorded the highest growth rate of 28.8 per cent while it stood at 14.5 per cent in social services, 14.4 per cent in financial and insurance establishments and 10.8 per cent in manufacturing.

Nominal GDP growth was high in 2010 because of an increase of nearly $15 in crude prices as the emirate’s oil output remained almost unchanged.

The report showed Abu Dhabi’s population grew by around 7.7 per cent, or nearly 141,000 to reach a record high of 1.967 million in mid 2010.

Emiratis were estimated at 433,788 and expatriates at 1.533 million in mid 2010, accounting for nearly 78 per cent of the total population. A gender breakdown showed males stood at 1.37 million, nearly 70 per cent of the total.

The figures showed higher oil prices allowed Abu Dhabi, which controls nearly 92 billion barrels of proven crude resources, to sharply boost investment in 2010, with its gross fixed capital formation soaring to an all time high of around Dh177.4 billion in 2010 from nearly Dh155.5 billion in 2009.

Investment in the hydrocarbon sector stood at Dh43.7 billion in 2010 while the manufacturing sector received nearly Dh28.4 billion. Other key recipients included electricity and water, with around Dh18.2 billion, real estate with Dh17.5 billion, transport and communication with Dh12.5 billion, construction with around Dh4.8 billion and the financial sector with Dh3.7 billion.