Abu Dhabi sees 2011 economic growth at 4.5 per cent

Reuters, Tuesday 3 May 2011

Industry and tourism will be major drivers as the emirate eyes establishing an export promotion agency

Abu Dhabi's economy is expected to grow by 4.5 per cent this year, below government plans, while inflation in the Gulf Arab emirate should hold at around 3 per cent, a government official said on Tuesday.

Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, plans to increase its economic output by an average of 7 per cent a year until 2015.

"There are many factors that will drive growth. Industry, tourism," Mohammed Omar Abdullah, undersecretary at Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development, told reporters at an investment forum.

The emirate accounts for more than 60 per cent of annual gross domestic product of the UAE, the world's third largest oil exporter.

Analysts polled by Reuters in March forecast the UAE's economy would expand 3.4 per cent in 2011, faster than an estimated 2.2 per cent in 2010 as its trade hub Dubai emerges from debt troubles.

Abdullah also said he expected the rise in Abu Dhabi consumer prices to hold at around 3 per cent this year. "Inflation is controllable and we have a mechanism to deal with the situation," he said.

Annual inflation in the emirate, which has 10 per cent of the world's oil reserves, had been edging higher over the past year. It peaked at 4.1 per cent in November and October last year before slowing to 1.9 per cent year-on-year in March from 3.1 per cent the previous month.

Abu Dhabi plans to set up an export promotion agency in the second half of the year, Abdullah also said, as well as a competitiveness office to establish rules and regulations for opening businesses.

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