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I am optimistic about the economy, says Mansouri

Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri (SUPPLIED)

By Abdel Hai Mohamad

Dubai's economy is sound and will weather the global financial crisis, Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, said yesterday. "There is no difference between Dubai and the UAE," he added.

"I am very optimistic about the economy. I expect the country's GDP will continue to grow in the current year and am very optimistic because the economy is very strong and stable.

"The country's economy is the least affected by the crisis. We are much better off than others," he said.

Al Mansouri said the ability of all sectors – not just the real estate industry – to withstand the crisis was currently being evaluated.

"There are solutions for any problem that might emerge," he said during a visit to the Abu Dhabi Cooperative Society to mark GCC Consumer Protection Day. The UAE's inflation rate would fall to between five and eight per cent this year compared with 11 per cent in 2008, he said.

Al Mansouri said: "Imported inflation was one of the main reasons behind the high inflation rate in the UAE last year.

"The ministry attempted in 2007 and 2008 to limit the increase in prices by launching initiatives with co-operative societies, supermarkets and hypermarkets. We had great success with these initiatives in cooperation with retail outlets and importers."

Ahmed Ali Al Romaithi, Chief Executive Officer of the Abu Dhabi Co-operative Society, said the coming months would see further falls in the cost of commodities in the UAE.

"We reduced the prices of 253 commodities which we have sold them with cost price to help combat the increase of prices. That cost us a lot and this is our national duty which we will not leave."

Replying to a question on whether or not the real estate sector in the UAE will see mergers or re-evaluation after the decline in prices owing to the global slowdown, Al Mansouri said: "All sectors are currently undergoing reevaluation. The launch of mergers depends on the nature of the real estate market."