Oil revival lifts Abu Dhabi 2010 nominal GDP 16 pct
Reuters, Sunday 18 Sep 2011
Abu Dhabi's key hydrocarbon sector led the growth in GDP as oil prices picked up speed in 2010, but GDP still below oil and property-boom year of 2008

Abu Dhabi's nominal economic output rose 15.9 per cent in 2010, after shrinking nearly a quarter in the previous year, helped by recovery in its key hydrocarbon sector, preliminary date from the Gulf Arab emirate showed on Sunday.

The United Arab Emirates member, which sits on 10 per cent of global oil reserves and accounts for 90 per cent of UAE oil output, felt the pinch of the global financial crisis in 2009 after crude prices tumbled from 2008 record highs.

With oil price recovery in 2010, the crude-reliant Abu Dhabi economy picked up speed again to see its nominal gross domestic product rise to 620.3 billion UAE dirhams ($169 billion), Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre's (SCAD) yearbook showed.

However, Abu Dhabi's GDP, which makes up 57 per cent of the UAE economy, is still below the 705.2 billion dirhams seen in the oil and property-boom year of 2008.

The statistics office did not release real GDP data for Abu Dhabi, whose performance had suffered from last year's debt troubles in neighbouring trade and business hub Dubai.

The UAE, the second-largest Arab economy and the world's No. 4 oil exporter, booked real GDP growth of 1.4 per cent in 2010 after a 1.6 per cent contraction in the previous year.

Analysts polled by Reuters in June expect the UAE economic output to expand by 3.7 per cent in 2011 with sluggish bank lending and weak property sector seen as the main drags.

In Abu Dhabi, the hydrocarbon sector output grew by 28.9 per cent at current prices in 2010, contributing to nearly half of the emirate's GDP, after a 42.1 per cent slump in 2009.

Per-capita income in Abu Dhabi, home to nearly 2 million people, rose to 315,300 dirhams ($85,800) in 2010, one of the highest in the world, from 293,100 in the previous year.

Exports of crude, gas and oil products surged 41.4 per cent to 278.1 billion dirhams last year. They account for more than 92 per cent of total exports and 45 per cent of Abu Dhabi's GDP.

Abu Dhabi's non-oil exports and re-exports jumped by 22.2 per cent and 26.4 per cent, respectively, while imports dropped 7.8 per cent, the data also showed.

The UAE, along with some other OPEC members such as Saudi Arabia, increased its oil output this year to compensate for a production drop in strife-torn Libya.

Abu Dhabi, which plans to trim its dependence on oil by investing billions of dollars in industry, tourism and infrastructure, produced an average 2.255 million barrels of oil per day last year, up from 2.189 million in 2009.

The number of new businesses registered in the low-tax desert emirate fell to 9,979 in 2010 compared with 12,725 in the previous year, with the total rising to 96,381.

Aircraft passenger numbers grew 14 per cent to 11.1 million in 2010. Some 1.8 million hotel guests stayed in the emirate, which is trying to draw more tourists to attractions such as the world's first Ferrari theme park, up 17.7 per cent from 2009.