Dubai’s non-oil external trade reaches AED 551 billion in H1 2020

iStock [For illustration]

Dubai recorded AED 551 billion worth of non-oil external trade in the first half of 2020.

Imports accounted for AED 320 billion, exports AED 77 billion, and re-exports AED 154 billion.

A total volume of 44 million tonnes of goods were traded through Dubai during the period, including 30 million tonnes of imports, 8 million tonnes of exports and 6 million tonnes of re-exports.

The emirate’s ability to minimise the impact of the pandemic-induced global economic slowdown on its trading sector reflects its exceptional logistics infrastructure, which enabled it to maintain uninterrupted trade flows and a streamlined supply chain.

"We are today reaping the fruits of the vision of our country’s founding leaders and our strong strategic planning, backed by decades of hard work in creating a robust trading and logistics infrastructure," said Sultan bin Sulayem, DP World Group Chairman & CEO and Chairman of Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation.

"During the pandemic, Dubai launched several stimulus packages under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to support the emirate’s business sector and reduce the impact of prevailing global economic conditions. The economy has efficiently navigated the turbulence in international markets by forging partnerships with markets less affected by the economic crisis," bin Sulayem added.

The latest external trade figures for H1 2020 show strong integration between different modes of shipping: land, sea and air.

Airborne trade accounted for AED 250 billion (45% of total trade), while sea trade reached AED 212 billion (39%), and land trade touched AED 89 billion (16%). 

Direct trade totalled AED 320 billion, representing 58 per cent of Dubai’s external trade, while trade through free zones reached AED 227 billion (41%), and customs warehouse trade weighed in at AED 4 billion (1%).

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs said: "Despite the crisis, customs transactions processed by Dubai Customs surged 41% in H1 2020 to reach 7.2 million transactions. Dubai Customs continued to develop and launch new initiatives." 

China maintained its position as Dubai’s largest trading partner in H1 2020 with AED 66.4 billion worth of trade, India came in second with AED 38.5 billion, followed by the USA with AED 31.7 billion, and Switzerland with AED 24.3 billion.

Saudi Arabia continued to be Dubai’s largest Gulf and Arab trade partner and its fifth-largest global trade partner with AED 24.1 billion worth of trade.

Gold, diamonds and jewellery topped the list of commodities in Dubai's H1 2020 external trade at AED 140 billion, followed by telecoms (AED 70 billion), and motors (AED 25.6 billion). Petroleum oils came fourth in the list with AED 21 billion followed by computers with AED 19 billion. 

Foodstuff trade grew 15 per cent to 9.1 million tonnes compared to the first half of 2019 with a value of AED 32 billion.

Trade in medical supplies and medicines grew 19 per cent to AED 12.4 billion compared to H1 2019.

The pandemic has further accelerated the shift to online shopping that has been gathering pace for many years.

Dubai dispatched 4.3 million e-commerce parcels in H1 2020, with transactions up 150 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The growth in deliveries was made possible by Dubai’s digital investment and infrastructure that has enabled trade in this sector to flourish with minimal disruption.

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