Dubai exports hit 2009's high of Dh18.5bn in December

The higher export figures for December indicate a positive outlook for 2010. (EB FILE)

The value of exports shipped by Dubai Chamber members last month hit a year's high of Dh18.5 billion, a new report has revealed.

The total represents a 23 per cent increase on the figure of Dh15bn achieved in the same month both last year and in 2007.

And the study by the chamber says analysis of certificates of origin issued to members in December shows that the month's exports boosted the total for 2009 to Dh186.1bn.

This is 11 per cent higher than the 2007 total, though it is 16 per cent lower than the figure for 2008 when the prevailing inflation rate greatly affected the value of exports.

Hamad Buamim, Director-General of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the value of exports shipped by members last month was the highest of the year.

"The export market outperformed its own record of 2007, sending out a clear signal to investors that the export sector had almost recovered from the effects of the global financial downturn," he added.

He said the fact that exports were seeing strong month-on-month growth demonstrated Dubai's resolve to turn matters to its favour in the wake of a period of adverse conditions and to retain its position as a leading trading hub in the region.

"Under its mission of representing, supporting and protecting the interests of the business community in Dubai, the chamber does everything in its means to facilitate trade and enhance the competitiveness of Dubai businesses while the government supports all economic sectors.

"This is evident from the latest decree from His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, exempting fines for the late renewal of trade licences, as well as the earlier decree giving a 20 to 30 per cent reduction on government services fees and many such other initiatives to support and encourage economic growth in the emirate."

He said the higher export figures for December indicated a positive outlook for 2010 as the sector could look forward to a better trading year.

In accordance with the World Trade Organisation's rules on the origin of goods crossing customs boundaries, shipments of goods have to be accompanied by certificates of origin (COs) specifying the country or countries of origin of the goods.

The study said Dubai Chamber issues COs for non-oil shipments by its members, either exports or re-exports. The total value of exports/re-exports generated from these COs is equivalent to between 70 and 80 per cent of the total value of non-oil exports/re-exports reported by Dubai Customs.

Monthly export statistics for 2009 strongly affirmed the rebound from the declines in the beginning of the year as the global economic crisis affected the region. The value of exports in December posted a strong month-on-month growth of 20 per cent, while the number of COs issued during the month represented a corresponding increase of 11 per cent.

Despite a slight decline in the number of total export markets during the month to 159, the number of exporters rose to 4,538.

December exports continued to be highly concentrated in niche markets, with exports to the top 20 destinations accounting for 94 per cent of the total. The GCC continued to be the largest export market for chamber members, expanding by 19 per cent from the previous month's value and accounting for 45 per cent of the total.

Saudi Arabia remained the largest single market in the region, maintaining an export level of Dh4.1bn, or 23 per cent of the total. This was accompanied by an increase in the number of exporters to 1,330 and in the number of COs to 12,425.

The number of exporters to Qatar increased to 1,400, leading to an increase in export value to Dh1.1bn. The number of COs correspondingly increased to 8,114.

The number of exporters serving Kuwait and Oman likewise rose, leading to increases in total exports to these countries to Dh892m and Dh558m respectively, or rates of increase of 13 per cent and 23 per cent.

On the other hand, the number of exporters to Bahrain declined to 537 and the export value declined by 14 per cent to Dh225m. This brought Bahrain's ranking in terms of export value down to 15th.

The number of traders operating between the UAE's customs territory and the free zones and duty free shops increased considerably to 537, with their export activities yielding a total export value of Dh1.4bn, or a 27 per cent increase. The number of COs issued to these traders represented an increase of 11 per cent to 2,698.

With the customs union facilitating the movement of goods within the GCC, it is not surprising to note that the number of COs issued for goods sent for delivery within the region accounted for 62 per cent of the total number issued during December.

Exports to major markets outside the GCC posted a month-on-month increase of 23 per cent to the total value of Dh9.1bn. Iran remained to be the single largest export destination of members.

Exports by 1,034 exporters to the country for the month slightly exceeded Dh5.5bn, or 30 per cent of the total.

With exports to the country generally dominated by heavy equipment and machineries, average shipment value was also high, with the number of COs covering the exports to be only 5,544 or 10 per cent of the total COs issued during the month.

Exports to Iraq posted 40 per cent growth to a total value of Dh535m, making the country the second largest export destination outside the GCC and pushing India to third position despite the 27 per cent growth of exports to the country totalling Dh484m. Registering a 51 per cent growth over the previous month's exports, December exports to Egypt reached Dh480m.

Other major export markets in the Middle East and African region were Libya, with export value of Dh379m; Jordan, Dh283m; Syria, Dh263m; Yemen, Dh249m; Sudan, Dh204m; Algeria, Dh181m; Lebanon, Dh148m; and Ethiopia, Dh108m.

Of the top 20 markets only Switzerland and Turkey – each with export value of Dh110m – were not in the region. Exports to the other markets totalled less than Dh1.2bn, representing six per cent of the month's total exports.

Improvements in the level of exports shipped by individual members were seen during the month. Although exporters with less than Dh500,000 export value during the month constituted the majority, their number declined to 2,659 from 2,715 in the previous month, or to 59 per cent of the total number from 61 per cent.

Nonetheless total exports of the group increased to Dh382m, from Dh366m a month ago. With the average number of markets remaining constant, the figures imply increasing value of exports per exporter.

The number of exporters in the next group – exports over Dh500,000 but less than Dh1m – increased to 528, who shipped goods worth a total of Dh365m, or two per cent of total exports. They recorded 3,231 total transactions, or six per cent of the total. They continued to have an average of two markets per exporter.

It is clear that large exporters have more export markets. On the other end of the spectrum were the largest exporters, exporting at least Dh100m.

The group increased in number to 27, from 23 the previous month. The value of their exports increased to Dh5.9bn, or 32 per cent of the total. This was despite the decline in the average number of markets per exporter to about eight, from nine a month ago.

 

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