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Abu Dhabi’s economic growth in 2011 the fastest in seven years
Reuters
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ABU DHABI: Abu Dhabi’s economy grew 6.8 percent in inflation-adjusted terms in 2011, the fastest rate since 2004 and more than double the pace of the previous year, thanks to stronger activity in both oil and non-oil sectors, government data showed Sunday.

“Growth in GDP at constant prices during 2011 surpassed all the forecasts and estimates made by local and international parties,” the Statistics Center Abu Dhabi said.

The real gross domestic product of Abu Dhabi rose 3.0 percent in 2010.

Abu Dhabi, which accounts for most of the UAE’s crude oil output and about 65 percent of the GDP of the second largest Arab economy, released detailed inflation-adjusted GDP data for the first time Sunday.

The hydrocarbon sector soared 9.4 percent in 2011, the strongest expansion since 2004 and well up from 2 percent in 2010.

Growth in non-oil activities was much more moderate at 4.1 percent last year, only slightly above the 3.9 percent clip in 2010 and roughly half of the average rate over the past decade, the data also showed.

Analysts believe the UAE, the world’s No. 3 oil exporter, benefited last year when it boosted oil output to help cover a production shortfall in civil war-torn Libya, a factor which will not be repeated in 2012. Global economic weakness is also expected to take its toll this year.

As a result, Abu Dhabi’s economic growth is likely to slow to 3.9 percent this year, but should pick up in the next few years, helped by diversification away from oil.

Analysts polled by Reuters in September forecast that economic growth in the whole UAE would slow to 3.2 percent in 2012 from 4.2 percent last year.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 15, 2012, on page 5.
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