Dubai's non-oil foreign trade with the rest of the world grew 38 per cent in 2008 to Dh934.7 billion, compared to Dh678.5bn in 2007, according to figures released by Dubai World's Statistics Department.
Commenting on the Dh256.2bn growth in trade, Saeed Al Qaizi, Director of Procurement, Contracts and Statistics at Dubai World, said Dubai's total foreign trade has maintained a steady growth pattern in 2008, reflecting the emirate's basic economic strength.
"Even during times of global economic fluctuations, Dubai has stayed on the course of positive growth. A close study of the trade trend over the past 10 years shows that this pattern will continue in the coming years and Dubai will remain the leading trading hub in the region," he said.
Nassim Al Mehairi, Senior Manager of the Statistics Department, said: "Results show that direct trade volume surged by 44 per cent, reaching Dh612.7bn in 2008 compared to 2007, when it was Dh425.4bn.
"The biggest growth was marked in the exports sector, which rose by 58 per cent, from Dh27bn in 2007 to about Dh42.6bn in 2008. This Dh14bn increase underlines the sound nature of the national economy.
"Imports grew by 48 per cent, rising from Dh297.7bn in 2007 to Dh441.4bn in 2008. The re-exports sector recorded growth by 28 per cent from Dh100.6bn in 2007 to Dh128.6bn in 2008." Foreign trade through Dubai's free zones increased by 29 per cent in 2008 compared to the previous year, rising from Dh237.7bn to Dh307bn. Imports recorded a 33 per cent growth, from Dh141.6bn to Dh187.8bn, whereas exports rose by 24 per cent, to touch Dh119.1bn from Dh96.1bn.
Across customs warehouses, however, trade dipped by two per cent last year compared to 2007 – from Dh15.2bn to Dh14.9bn – Al Mehairi said. Imports at customs warehouses recorded a fall of one per cent from Dh13.9bn to Dh13.8bn and exports receded by 17 per cent from Dh1.3bn in 2007 to about Dh1bn in 2008.
The Statistics Department said China ranked as Dubai's top partner in imports in direct non-oil foreign trade in 2008 at Dh57bn, while India came second at Dh48bn, followed by the US at Dh34.5bn. In exports, India was on top last year, at Dh17.3bn, followed by Switzerland at Dh2.7bn.