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Shoppers at a mall in Dubai. Image Credit: File photo

Dubai: All main sectors of gross domestic product (GDP) recorded real growth rates in 2017 in Dubai, with the exception of value-added financial services, compared to 2016, according to the ‘Dubai Economic Report 2018’ which was released on Saturday by the Department of Economic Development (DED).

The tourism sector represented by hotels and restaurants lead from the front, followed by real estate activities, with growth rates of 8 per cent and 7.3 per cent, respectively. Tourism is also expected to grow further ahead of Expo 2020 and particularly during the six-month exhibition period, from October 2020 to April 2021. More than 270,000 new jobs are expected to be added in different sectors as a result of the Expo and allied activities, with a major share of the jobs coming from hotels and restaurants.

The construction sector grew 3.5 per cent, recovering from a -3.4 per cent contraction in 2016. Real estate activities accounted for 7.1 per cent of GDP in 2017.


Sector-wise, banking, insurance and capital markets was the third largest contributor to Dubai’s GDP in 2017, with an added value of Dh40.5 billion, or 10.1 per cent of the total.

The total value of non-oil commodity trade in Dubai reached Dh1.3 trillion in 2017. This value reflects a slight increase of 2 per cent over 2016 and a remarkable recovery after two successive years of decline, due in large part to weak demand in neighbouring countries. The value of foreign trade continued to rise in the first half of 2018, with a significant increase of 14 per cent in the value of re-exports compared to the same period of 2017.

Dubai’s trade with its top four trading partners — China, India, United States and Saudi Arabia — accounted for about a third of the total trade. China was Dubai’s largest trading partner for the second consecutive year, followed by India, which has been Dubai’s largest trading partner for many years. Dubai’s trade with GCC countries reached Dh127 billion, an increase of about 10 per cent, in 2017. Re-exports accounted for 53 per cent of Dubai’s total trade with other GCC countries.

The output of the mining and quarrying industries sector in the emirate at constant prices reached about Dh6.7 billion in 2017. The sector has been on a decline in the last four years and its GDP contribution declined from 2 per cent in 2014 to 1.7 per cent in 2017. The decline in global demand for energy products since 2014, as well as the decline in conventional energy sources in Dubai has contributed to the decline in domestic production and exports.

The total production of electricity and gas has more than doubled during the 2009-2017 period. The value added by the sector at constant prices amounted to Dh10.2 billion in 2017, an increase of 4.6 per cent over 2016, and its contribution to GDP increased from 1.5 per cent to 2.5 per cent in 2017.

Manufacturing output (at constant prices) reached Dh36.8 billion in 2017, an increase of 2 per cent over 2016 and the contribution of the sector to GDP reached 9.4 per cent.

Dubai’s health care and education sector have also seen significant improvement in infrastructure and capabilities as a result of the emphasis given to social and economic development across strategic plans. Public and private schools provide quality education to women and men and as a result, illiteracy remains at a negligible percentage. About 25,000 people worked in Dubai’s education sector as of 2016, while nearly 22,000 worked in the health sector.