UAE trade surplus put at $86.2bn in 2011

Exports climbed to an all-time high of around $265bn last year

Strong oil prices boosted the UAE’s trade surplus to one of its highest levels of around $86.2 billion in 2011 while the current account balance also surged above 10 per cent of GDP, according to official data.

Exports of goods climbed to an all time high of around $265 billion in 2011 while imports reached $179.3 billion, showed the figures by the Abu Dhabi-based Arab Monetary Fund (AMF).

The surge in exports boosted the country’s trade surplus by around 36 per cent from 63.5 billion in 2010, the AMF said, citing UAE government data.

“The current account surplus is expected to have climbed to about $37.7 billion, or nearly 10.4 per cent of GDP,” it said.

In its quarter bulletin, the AMF said high oil prices in 2011, averaging a record high of $105 a barrel, turned a federal budget deficit of 1.3 per cent of GDP in 2010 into a surplus of about 6.5 per cent last year.

The increase in oil sales boosted revenue to around 33.5 per cent of GDP in 2011 from 28.4 per cent in 2010, the report showed.

The UAE pumped around 2.6 million bpd of crude oil in 2011 and higher prices of oil and gas boosted its hydrocarbon revenue by 38 per cent to $111 billion from $75 billion in 2010, according to the International Monetary Fund, which also expected revenue to hit an all time high of $122 billion in 2012.

The UAE, one of the world’s largest oil and gas suppliers, earned only about $52 billion in 2009, nearly 40 per cent below the 2008 income of around $87 billion because of a sharp fall in oil prices and output.

The IMF said the surge in the UAE’s hydrocarbon export income lifted its nominal GDP by around 20.8 per cent to $360 billion in 2011 from $298 billion in 2010. It expected GDP to swell further to $386 billion in 2012 and $394 billion in 2013.

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