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United Arab Emirates Economy

    Economy—overview: The UAE has an open economy with one of the world's highest per capita incomes and with a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 33% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since 1973, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for over 100 years. The UAE Government is encouraging increased privatization within the economy. Industrial development has picked up in 1997-98, but lower world oil prices caused GDP to drop 5% in 1998.

    GDP: purchasing power parity—$40 billion (1998 est.)

    GDP—real growth rate: -5% (1998 est.)

    GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$17,400 (1998 est.)

    GDP—composition by sector:
    agriculture: 3%
    industry: 52%
    services: 45% (1996 est.)

    Population below poverty line: NA%

    Household income or consumption by percentage share:
    lowest 10%: NA%
    highest 10%: NA%

    Inflation rate (consumer prices): 5% (1997 est.)

    Labor force: 1.3 million (1997 est.)
    note: 75% of the population in the 15-64 age group is non-national (July 1998 est.)

    Labor force—by occupation: services 60%, industry 32%, agriculture 8% (1996 est.)

    Unemployment rate: NA%

    Budget:
    revenues: $5.4 billion
    expenditures: $5.8 billion, including capital expenditures of $350 million (1998 budget est.)

    Industries: petroleum, fishing, petrochemicals, construction materials, some boat building, handicrafts, pearling

    Industrial production growth rate: 0% (1997 est.)

    Electricity—production: 18 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—production by source:
    fossil fuel: 100%
    hydro: 0%
    nuclear: 0%
    other: 0% (1996)

    Electricity—consumption: 18 billion kWh (1996)

    Electricity—exports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Electricity—imports: 0 kWh (1996)

    Agriculture—products: dates, vegetables, watermelons; poultry, eggs, dairy products; fish

    Exports: $38 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

    Exports—commodities: crude oil 45%, natural gas, reexports, dried fish, dates

    Exports—partners: Japan 36%, South Korea 9%, Singapore 5%, India 5%, Oman 3% (1997)

    Imports: $29.7 billion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)

    Imports—commodities: manufactured goods, machinery and transport equipment, chemicals, food

    Imports—partners: US 9%, Japan 9%, UK 9%, Germany 6%, India 6% (1997)

    Debt—external: $14 billion (1996 est.)

    Economic aid—recipient: $NA

    Currency: 1 Emirian dirham (Dh) = 100 fils

    Exchange rates: Emirian dirhams (Dh) per US$1—central bank mid-point rate: 3.6725 (January 1999), 3.6725 (1998); fixed rate: 3.6710 (1994-1997)

    Fiscal year: calendar year

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Revised 1-Mar-99
Copyright © 1999 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)