The Jebel Ali port. Dubai's non-oil external trade grew 19 per cent in volume from 91 million tonnes in 2018 to reach 109 million tonnes in 2019. Image Credit: WAM

Dubai: Dubai saw remarkable external trade growth in 2019, spurred by its efforts to achieve its 2025 trade target of Dh2 trillion.

Non-oil external trade last year grew 19 per cent in volume from 91 million tonnes in 2018 to reach 109 million tonnes in 2019.

Dh 1.371 t

Value in trillion dirhams of Dubai’s external trade in 2019, up 6 per cent from Dh1.299 trillion in 2018

Re-exports rose by a record 48 per cent to reach 17 million tonnes, while exports rose by 45 per cent to 19 million tonnes and imports grew by 9 per cent to 72 million tonnes.

These figures capped a prosperous decade for Dubai from 2010-2020, during which external trade grew by 70 per cent.

Dubai’s strong foreign trade performance, which reflects its robust economic fundamentals and its resilience against odds, gave it a positive start to the year 2020 — the year of preparation for the next 50 years.

Dubai achieved exceptional external trade growth in 2019 despite the headwinds from an intensified global economic downturn.

6% growth 

In terms of value, Dubai’s external trade surged 6 per cent to Dh1.371 trillion from Dh1.299 trillion in 2018.

Dubai external trade highest value goods 2019
Image Credit: WAM

Exports skyrocketed 22 per cent to Dh155 billion, re-exports grew by 4 per cent to Dh420 billion and imports rose by 3 per cent to Dh796 billion.

Over the decade (2010-2019), the value of Dubai’s external trade went up by 52 per cent thanks to the agility, versatility and flexibility of the external trade sector in the emirate, which discovered alternative markets and trade paths to make up for sluggish growth in some markets.

Dubai’s foreign trade out of free zones in 2019 was a major contributor to the overall increase, accounting for Dh592 billion, a 11 per cent increase year-on-year.

Direct trade saw 2 per cent growth to reach Dh770 billion. Customs warehouse trade hit Dh9 billion.

Land trade grew by 11 per cent contributing Dh228 billion, air trade rose by 5 per cent to Dh641 billion and sea trade increased by 4 per cent to Dh502 billion.

China remained Dubai’s largest trading partner, contributing Dh150 billion.

India was the second biggest trading partner, contributing Dh135 billion, followed by the USA with Dh77.7 billion, and Switzerland with Dh60 billion.

Saudi Arabia maintained its position as Dubai’s largest Arab trade partner.

The country was the emirate’s fifth biggest partner globally, contributing Dh56 billion.

The highest traded commodity by value in 2019 was gold, jewellery and diamonds which contributed Dh370 billion, a growth of 7 per cent from 2018.

Gold took the lion’s share of trade with Dh169.5 billion.