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

Updated 12 January 2014
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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.


Dubai property developer Damac on hunt for land in Saudi Arabia

Hussain Sajwani
Updated 18 March 2019
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Dubai property developer Damac on hunt for land in Saudi Arabia

  • Brexit a “concern” for UK property market says Sajwani
  • Developer mulls investing “up to £500 million” on London project

LONDON: The Dubai-listed developer Damac says it is scouting for additional plots of land in Saudi Arabia, both in established cities and the Kingdom’s emerging giga-projects such as Neom.
Hussain Sajwani, chairman of Damac Properties, also said the company would look to invest up to £500 million ($660 million) on a second development in the UK, and that it is on track to deliver a record 7,000 or more units this year.
Amid a slowing property market in Dubai, Damac’s base, the developer is eying Saudi Arabia as a potential ground for expansion for its high-spec residential projects.
Damac has one development in Jeddah, and a twin-tower project in Riyadh — and Sajwani said it is looking for additional plots in the Kingdom.
“It’s a big market. It is changing, it is opening up, so we see a potential there … We are looking,” he said.
“In the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is the biggest economy … They have some very ambitious projects, like the Neom city and other large projects. We’re watching those and studying them very carefully.”
The $500 billion Neom project, which was announced in 2017, is set to be a huge economic zone with residential, commercial and tourist facilities on the Red Sea coast.
Sajwani said doing business in Saudi Arabia was “a bit more difficult or complicated” that the UAE, but said the country is opening up, citing moves to allow women to drive and reopen cinemas.
He was speaking to Arab News in Damac’s London sales office, opposite the Harrods department store in Knightsbridge. The office, kitted out in plush Versace furnishings, is selling units at Damac’s first development in the UK, the Damac Tower Nine Elms London.
The 50-storey development is in a new urban district south of the River Thames, which is also home to the US Embassy and the famous Battersea Power Station, which is being redeveloped as a residential and commercial property.
Work on Damac's tower is underway and is due to complete in late 2020 or early 2021, Sajwani said.
“We have sold more than 60 percent of the project,” he said. “It’s very mixed, we have (buyers) from the UK, from Asia, the Middle East.”
Damac’s first London project was launched in 2015, the year before the referendum on the UK exiting the EU — the result of which has had a knock-on effect on the London property market.
“Definitely Brexit has cause a lot of concern, people are not clear where the situation will go. Overall, the market has suffered because of Brexit,” Sajwani said.
“It’s going to be difficult for the coming two years at least … unless (the UK decides) to stay in the EU.”
Despite the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit, Sajwani said Damac was looking for additional plots of land in London, both in the “golden triangle” — the pricey areas of Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge, which are popular with Gulf investors — and new residential districts like Nine Elms.
Sajwani is considering an investment of “up to £500 million” on a new project in the UK capital.
“We are looking aggressively, and spending a lot of time … finding other opportunities,” he said. “Our appetite for London is there.”
Damac is also considering other international property markets for expansion, including parts of Europe and North American cities like Toronto, Boston, New York and Miami, Sajwani said.
The international drive by Damac comes, however, amid a tough property market in the developer’s home market of Dubai.
Damac in February reported that its 2018 profits fell by nearly 60 percent, with its fourth-quarter profit tumbling by 87 percent, according to Reuters calculations.
Sajwani — whose company attracted headlines for its partnership with the Trump Organization for two golf courses in Dubai — does not see any immediate recovery in the emirate’s property market, or Damac’s financial results.
“(With) the market being soft, prices being under pressure, we are part of the market — we are not going to do better than last year,” he said. “This year and next year are going to be difficult years. But it’s a great opportunity for the buyers.”
But the developer said Dubai was “very strong fundamentally,” citing factors like its advanced infrastructure, safety and security, and low taxes.
In 2018, Damac delivered over 4,100 units — a record for the company — and this year, despite the difficult market, it plans to hand over even more.
“We’re expecting north of 7,000,” Sajwani said. “This year will be another record.”