Taking a quick look at the UAE economy in 2018, one realises that there are strong and positive areas but also causes for concern, especially on the side of liquidity.
It’s just going to be more expensive to shop, to refuel, to go to pubs, to smoke, and now, as the UAE enters into deficit spending following a recent passing of the budget, there will be more pressure on banks to lend should the country borrow locally, or more pressure on the economy, should the country borrow internationally.
Below are the numbers you need to know about to make better decisions about your pressure Dirhams and keep track of UAE’s economic development.
Top 9 economic factors
1- The 5% VAT and 50-100% excise tax will affect your choices of what to buy, but there is a good chance you will go back to buying what you like at any cost (other countries with VAT have done the same)
2- Dubai announced a 19.5% increase in 2018 budget to $15.4bn. Great news. This could only mean growth and solidifying the UAE’s position in the GCC and globally.
3- Infrastructure spending will rise 46.5% in preparation for Expo 2020 which received $1.36bn next year (total budgeted for Expo is $6.8bn), and taking a 21% share of total spending. So expect more roads, more buildings, more construction signs and more detours.
4- Non-oil sector to grow is expected to grow 3 percent this year, accelerating from 2.7 percent last year, the UAE Central Bank today. But GDP is projected to grow only 1.6 percent in 2017, down from 3.0 percent in 2016, because of a shrinking oil sector. Expect recovery in 2020 to 3-3.5 %.
5- The IMF’s as well as many analysts believe oil will be in $50-$60 range. Relax, the UAE likes those numbers and pose no danger to growth.
6- The Emirates NBD Dubai PMI fell to 55.3 last month from 55.6 in October. A reading above 50 suggests that the economy is growing, and vice versa, and job creation continued to grow for nine straight months. The new budget will create 3,000 more jobs and will include a 10 per cent increase in salaries and wages.
7- Government revenues will increase 12.5% to $13.7bn. That’s always welcome news, as you’ll see more of your tax Dirhams play a role in developing the country.
8- If you do the math, the UAE has about a $1.7bn deficit or 1.55% of GDP. Not a huge number, and easily absorbed through moderate bond sales.
9- Health, education, housing, community development and innovation accounted for 33% of total spending. More good news obviously.