Abu Dhabi's economy expands 11.2% in first half despite global macroeconomic challenges

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Abu Dhabi’s economy expanded by 11.2 percent in the first six months of this year on an annual basis, driven by a robust performance of the oil and non-oil sectors, despite mounting global macroeconomic challenges.

The size of the emirate's real gross domestic product at constant prices surpassed Dh543 billion ($147.9 billion) at the end of the six-month period, the Abu Dhabi Media Office said on Thursday as it cited the latest government data released by the Statistics Centre – Abu Dhabi (SCAD). The value of non-oil GDP grew by Dh28.4 billion to Dh273 billion at the end of the first half of 2022. Abu Dhabi's economy expanded 11.7 percent on an annual basis in the second quarter of this year, hitting the highest three-month value in six years, the centre said without giving further details.

“Positive growth rates in Abu Dhabi reflect the profound strength and success of the economic diversification policy, which contributed to the economy's resilience and ability to address global changes posed by geopolitical and economic factors that directly affected strategic sectors such as energy and international trade,” said Mohamed Al Shorafa, chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development.

The emirate continues to reap the benefits of policies that have strengthened the “pillars and foundations of the economy” and helped it to maintain “competitive performance while attracting investments with more initiatives to achieve the strategic objectives”, he said.

Abu Dhabi’s economy, which made a strong rebound last year from the coronavirus-induced slowdown, has gained further momentum this year.

In May, S&P forecast that Abu Dhabi's real GDP growth would accelerate to more than 5 per cent in 2022, with real GDP reaching 2019 levels in 2023.

However, Mr Al Shorafa said earlier this month that the emirate’s economy was set to grow at par with the UAE economy this year.

The UAE Central Bank expects the country’s economy to grow 5.4 per cent this year. The International Monetary Fund has projected a 6 per cent economic expansion, driven by a rebound in tourism, construction and activity related to Expo 2020 Dubai.

Emirates NBD recently raised its growth forecast for the UAE economy to 7 per cent in 2022 while Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank has projected growth of 6.5 per cent.

According to the latest SCAD data, the oil sector, including mining and quarrying activities, accounted for 49.7 per cent of Abu Dhabi’s GDP during the first half of 2022.

Non-oil sector activities contributed 50.3 per cent, despite a sharp rise in global oil prices that contributed to the emirate’s oil revenue during the period.

“The increase in the non-oil sector's contribution to the real GDP proves the success of the ambitious strategic plans for diversifying the economic base in Abu Dhabi,” SCAD said.

The manufacturing sector, which accounted for 8.1 percent of Abu Dhabi's GDP, grew more than 10 percent on an annual basis during the first half.

The construction and building sector contributed 7.7 percent, followed by wholesale and retail sector activity, which accounted for 5.9 percent of GDP.

Meanwhile, financial sector activities contributed 5.5 percent to the emirate's economy in the first half of this year, growing 9.1 percent on an annual basis during the period, according to SCAD data.

The “remarkable growth rates in the non-oil sectors” during the first half of 2022 reflect a “competitive outlook of Abu Dhabi's business ecosystem”, said Added Undersecretary Rashed Al Balooshi.

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