Asia will be the fastest growing export market for the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Egypt until 2030, according to HSBC’s latest country Trade Forecast report.
The coming years will also see a continued shift away from North America and Europe as the traditional suppliers for imports to China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia and Turkey.
Tim Reid, regional head of commercial banking for HSBC MENA said: “MENA may have experienced some mixed economic fortunes in recent years but today’s reports very much support our belief in the long-term economic potential of the region. They re-affirm our view that the emerging markets will be key to MENA’s trade growth as it seeks to expand its trading corridors.”
As the region continues to diversify itself, oil will remain a strong component of its long-term trade with the world. The 2011 surge in oil and gas prices underpinned solid growth in the oil producing countries and although oil prices are likely to soften in the near term.
“This will undoubtedly help countries like Saudi Arabia and the UAE to post faster export growth, averaging eight per cent a year from 2016 to 2020. Egypt will also rebound and experience sustained export growth to the MENA region, averaging around eight per cent a year to 2030. Its fastest growth in exports will be to Asia (excluding Japan), which is seen at 11 per cent on average during 2021-30,” the report said.
Saudi Arabia’s trade has been boosted by high world energy prices in the last few years, with exports rising by 45 per cent in 2011 and by an estimated eight per cent this year. As a result, Saudi Arabia’s largest export markets are the world’s major economic powers, headed by China and the US, followed by India.
Exports to Asia (excluding Japan) will continue to grow more rapidly than those to other regions, growing by almost nine per cent a year during 2021-30. Imports from India, China, Vietnam and Malaysia and to a lesser extent Turkey, will show the fastest growth in the coming years, said HSBC.
In the UAE, trade performance has been boosted by high world energy prices, which have seen exports growing by over 30 per cent in 2011 and by an estimated 14 per cent in 2012. Japan, India, Korea and China are its main trading partners.
Among the 23 economies in the study, India was the UAE’s main trade partner in 2011 and is expected to retain this top position in 2030. Imports from India, China and over time, Vietnam, will show the fastest growth in the coming years.