Dubai’s non-oil foreign trade fell for a second year running in 2016 as global and local issues impacted the economy.
Non-oil trade stood at Dhs1.276 trillion ($347.3bn) last year, down 0.55 per cent from the Dhs1.283 trillion ($349.3bn) seen in 2015 and 4.13 per cent from a 2014 high of Dhs1.331 trillion ($362.3bn).
Although Dubai Crown Prince and chairman of the Dubai Executive Council His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, said trade had still increased 70 per cent from the Dhs754bn seen in 2009.
“We have achieved this growth despite the world credit crunch in 2008 that hit the world’s economies. The achievement underscores the emirate’s strong standing in the global trading landscape,” he said.
Imports accounted for Dhs803bn of trade last year, followed by re-exports at Dhs330bn and exports at Dhs143bn.
China continued to be the emirate’s key-trade partner during the year with Dhs166bn in two-way trade, or 13 per cent of the total. India stood second with Dhs94bn, or 7.4 per cent, followed by the US with Dhs86bn or 6.7 per cent.
Among GCC states, Saudi Arabia was the largest partner with Dhs52bn, or 4.1 per cent, and trade with Germany stood at Dhs50bn or 3.9 per cent.
Direct trade amounted to Dhs830bn or 65 per cent of total trade, with free zone trade standing at Dhs411.44bn or 32 per cent and customs warehouse trade at Dhs34.76bn or 3 per cent.
Air cargo represented Dhs592bn or 46 per cent followed by sea freight with Dhs452bn (35 per cent) and inland trade at Dhs232bn (18 per cent).
While mobile phones and communication devices represented the most traded commodity at Dhs167bn (13.1 per cent), followed by gold at Dhs156bn (12 per cent), diamonds at Dhs97bn (7.6 per cent), jewellery at Dhs63bn (4.9 per cent) and automobiles at Dhs60bn (4.7 per cent).
The emirate saw an 8.2 per cent increase in the total bulk weight of trade goods last year, rising to 92 million tonnes of commodities from 85 million in 2015.