Abu Dhabi’s GDP rises 7.7%, population reaches 2.3m

Updated 12 January 2014
0

Abu Dhabi’s GDP rises 7.7%, population reaches 2.3m

Abu Dhabi’s GDP at current prices rose by 7.7 percent to mark AED911.6 billion at the end of 2012, compared to AED846.7 billion in 2011, albeit relatively a better economic performance during 2011 as the GDP achieved a nominal growth rate of 32 percent, state news agency Wam reported.
The Economic Report of Abu Dhabi 2013 issued by the Studies Directorate of the Department of Economic Development has interpreted this relative growth through low growth rate achieved by the extractive industry activity in 2012, which amounted to about 6.2 percent, compared to 52.8 percent in 2011, due to the limited increases in quantities of oil production, and the limited rise in oil prices in global markets during 2012 compared to 2011.
Abu Dhabi’s oil exports registered a growth rate of 6.9 percent during 2012 compared to approximately 5.4 percent in 2011.
The report emphasized that the continuation of nonoil activities to achieving high rates of growth in recent years is substantiates the soundness and efficiency of the economic diversification policy followed by the government, especially in the last three years, which witnessed continuous improvement in the performance of this group of activities, after the sharp slowdown experienced in 2009.
The report said 2012 witnessed the continuation of the leading role of the group of nonoil activities in support of the overall economic performance, which achieved a combined positive growth rate of 9.6 percent at current prices in 2012.
In general, the report said contribution of extractive industries activities to Abu Dhabi’s GDP in 2012 dropped to 56.48 percent compared to 57.3 percent in 2011.
Nasser Ahmed Alsowaidi, chairman, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, said: “Abu Dhabi’s economy continued to achieve distinct quantitative and qualitative developments in all areas.”
Mohammed Omar Abdullah, undersecretary of the Department of Economic Development, said the report shows that the real GDP of Abu Dhabi has achieved a growth rate of 5.6 percent in 2012, and that the nonoil activities witnessed a steady growth since 2007, which ranged between 5 percent and 9 percent until 2012. He added that this raised the contribution of nonoil economic activities to real GDP from less than 44 percent in 2007 to 48 percent in 2012.
Abu Dhabi’s population, meanwhile, increased from 2.2 million in 2011 to 2.3 million in 2012, registering a growth rate of 8 percent, which exceeded the growth rate of GDP at current and constant prices, which stood at 7.7 percent and 5.6 percent respectively during the same year. However, the average GDP per capita in Abu Dhabi still ranks among the highest in the world.
On the other hand, non-citizens captured 97.6% of the emirate’s total population in 2012, with the continuing imbalance between males and females in this category, where males dominated with 76.2 percent of the total population of non-citizens, while females accounted for about 23.8 percent, due to the high number of expatriates who work in the emirate; their families live in their countries of origin.
In view of the recovery and boom experienced by Abu Dhabi, many economic activities continued to attract and absorb more citizens and expatriates in labor force in the emirate.
The number of employed persons was projected to increase from 1.4 million people in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, up by approximately 12 percent.
At the same time, the total size of the work force in the emirate went up from 1.4 million in 2011 to 1.6 million people in 2012, registering approximately a 13 percent increase, which raised the percentage of the labor force to 70 percent of the total population of the emirate in 2012 compared to 66.8 percent in 2011.
In the same vein, estimates indicate a slight increase in unemployment rate to reach 3.2 percent in 2012 compared to 2.8 percent in 2011.
The emirate’s economy maintained relative stability in the prices of most goods and services over the past few years, as the general consumer prices index rose from 121.6 points in 2011 to122.9 points in 2012.
The average annual inflation rate in the emirate dropped to 1.1 percent by 2012 compared to 1.9 percent in 2011 and 3.1 percent at the end of 2010.


Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

Updated 17 min 57 sec ago
0

Foreign investors hope India dials back policy shocks after Modi win

  • Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors
  • After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers said they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies

NEW DELHI: Foreign companies in India have welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s election victory for the political stability it brings, but now they need to see him soften a protectionist stance adopted in the past year.
Modi’s pro-business image and India’s youthful population have lured foreign investors, with US firms such as Amazon.com , Walmart and Mastercard committing billions of dollars in investments and ramping up hiring.
India is also the biggest market by users for firms such as Facebook Inc, and its subsidiary, WhatsApp.
But from around 2017, critics say, the Hindu nationalist leader took a harder, protectionist line on sectors such as e-commerce and technology, crafting some policies that appeared to aim at whipping up patriotic fervor ahead of elections.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

“I hope he’s now back to wooing businesses,” said Prasanto Roy, a technology policy analyst based in New Delhi, who advises global tech firms.
“Global firms remain deeply concerned about the lack of policy stability or predictability, this has sent a worrying message to global investors.”
India stuck to its policies despite protests and aggressive lobbying by the United States government, US-India trade bodies and companies themselves.
Small hurdles
Modi was set to hold talks on Friday to form a new cabinet after election panel data showed his Bharatiya Janata Party had won 302 of the 542 seats at stake and was leading in one more, up from the 282 it won in 2014.
After Modi’s win, about a dozen officials of foreign companies in India and their advisers told Reuters they hoped he would ease his stance and dilute some of the policies.
Other investors hope the government will avoid sudden policy changes on investment and regulation that catch them off guard and prove very costly, urging instead industry-wide consultation that permits time to prepare.
Protectionism concerns “are small hurdles you have to go through,” however, said Prem Watsa, the chairman of Canadian diversified investment firm Fairfax Financial, which has investments of $5 billion in India.
“There will be more business-friendly policies and more private enterprise coming into India,” he told Reuters in an interview.
Tech, healthcare and beyond
Among the firms looking for more friendly steps are global payments companies that had benefited since 2016 from Modi’s push for electronic payments instead of cash.
Last year, however, firms such as Mastercard and Visa were asked to store more of their data in India, to allow “unfettered supervisory access,” a change that prompted WhatsApp to delay plans for a payments service.
Modi’s government has also drafted a law to clamp similar stringent data norms on the entire sector.
But abrupt changes to rules on foreign investment in e-commerce stoked alarm at firms such as Amazon, which saw India operations disrupted briefly in February, and Walmart, just months after it invested $16 billion in India’s Flipkart.
Policy changes also hurt foreign players in the $5-billion medical device industry, such as Abbott Laboratories, Boston Scientific and Johnson & Johnson, following 2017 price caps on products such as heart stents and knee implants.
Modi’s government said the move aimed to help poor patients and curb profiteering, but the US government and lobby groups said it harmed innovation, profits and investment plans.
“If foreign companies see their future in this country on a long-term basis...they will have to look at the interests of the people,” Ashwani MaHajjan, an official of a nationalist group that pushed for some of the measures, told Reuters.
That view was echoed this week by two policymakers who said government policies will focus on strengthening India’s own companies, while providing foreign players with adequate opportunities for growth.
Such comments worry foreign executives who fear Modi is not about to change his protectionist stance in a hurry, with one offical of a US tech firm saying, “I’d rather be more worried than be optimistic.”