Abu Dhabi: Preliminary figures by the National Bureau of Statistics show that the UAE's gross domestic product is expected to grow 4.2 per cent this year compared to 1.4 per cent last year and 1.6 per cent in 2009 due to robust oil prices.

Rashid Al Suwaidi, director general of the National Bureau of Statistics, said: "This is a preliminary figure, but it is based on the IMF's estimation."

"The contribution of non-oil exports to GDP is expected to record 65 per cent this year compared to 69 per cent last year; while oil exports would contribute 35 per cent to the country's GDP in 2011," said Sufian Awad, economic expert at the National Bureau of Statistics.

Awad added that the inflation rate this year is expected to be less than two per cent due to the weak property market.

"Inflation is expected to be around 1.8 per cent compared to 0.88 per cent in 2010 and 1.56 in 2009," he explained, pointing out that the major drop in prices is in the housing sector.

"Food, garments and educational expenses increased this year, but the drop in house prices, which constitute up to 40 per cent of the household's basket, affected the CPI," Awad said. "The main risk to our forecast emanates from the potential for a more prolonged period of dollar weakness than currently predicted," he added.

The first statistics conference will be held in Abu Dhabi on November 15-16 to discuss the importance of statistics for decision makers.