The United Arab Emirates’ economy minister cut his forecast for the country’s gross domestic product growth this year, predicting expansion of around three per cent, after a sharp fall in global oil prices over the last several weeks.
Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri, speaking at a news conference on Monday, said he remained optimistic about growth this year.
But his forecast for 2012 was lower than his last prediction, made in March, of “almost four per cent” growth. At that time, Brent crude oil was around $125 a barrel; since then, signs of a global economic slowdown have dragged oil as low as $97 this week, the cheapest price since January 2011.
The UAE is one of the world’s top five oil exporters.
Mansouri also told the news conference that he expected inflation in the UAE of between one and 1.5 per cent this year. A Reuters poll of analysts in March predicted inflation of two per cent in 2012 after 0.9 per cent in both 2011 and 2010.