Abu Dhabi’s non-oil GDP growth rate reaches 7.1% in Q3

This is revealed in Abu Dhabi’s 2015 Economic Performance Report, issued by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED’s) Studies Department, based on the results of aggregate and sectorial indicators of Abu Dhabi economy, which shows a review of Abu Dhabi’s economic performance last year through a detailed reading of the results of these growth indicators.
Ali Majed Al Mansouri, Chairman of ADDED said that according to the estimates of Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre regarding the GDP in current prices, relative contribution of non-oil activities in Abu Dhabi’s GDP has increased to a record level in Q3 of 2015, reaching 65% compared to 49.1% in 2014.
Ali Majed Al Mansouri said that the overall reading of the results of Abu Dhabi growth indicators in 2015 generally reflects continuous optimism and confidence among consumers and the business community, including foreign investors, industrialists and businesswomen.
He added that the results of transparency indicator of foreign direct investment policies in Abu Dhabi in 2015 reflected that investors and businessmen still feel high levels of transparency in the policies formulated by the Federal Government and Abu Dhabi Government.
According to the report results, the latest data issued by Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority show the enhanced performance of the tourism sector in 2015. The number of hotel facility guests increased by about 18% during the period January-November 2015, compared to the same period in 2014, to approximately 3,716,118 guests.
The number of hotel nights increases by about 15% to 10,883,362 nights. Accordingly, the total revenues of hotel facilities increased by 6% to AED5,992 million. Rate of occupation in hotel facilities was about 75.2% during the aforementioned period, with a slight increase of 1% compared with the same period in 2014.
Internal tourism flourished during January – November 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. It increased by about 19% in 2015, where the number of guests from the country constituted 33% of the total number of guests in the same period, followed by India in second place, then the United Kingdom.
Internal tourism recorded a growth rate of about 12% in the average accommodation period for January -November 2015, compared to the same period in 2014.
Statistics showed a large increase in the growth rate of guests during the period January – November 2015 compared to the same period in 2014, particularly from China (57%), South Africa (41%), Ireland (38%), Italy (28%), Philippines and USA (28%) each.
As for the real estate sector, the data issued by Abu Dhabi Statistics Centre shows the decline of the standard rental rates from 110.1 points from December 2013 to December 2014 to 107.1 points for January – November 2015.
Depending on the type of housing, the indicator recorded its highest levels for small houses consisting of one or two rooms.
During the period January – November 2015, the indicator of rental rates reached its lowest levels at Al Reem Island, Khalifa City and Al Samha East, where the value of the indicator was about 96.7, 92.5 and 79.2 points respectively. The standard rental rate reached its highest value at Al Shahama district, recording 127.5 points.
Reports on the performance of Abu Dhabi real estate market indicate that residential leases in 2015 were 4% up, compared with 2014. The JLL annual report 2015 marks a drop in real estate units demand in 2015, as well as the reduction of government spending and willingness of real estate developers to reduce supply in line with demand in order to keep the rates of real estate units without a drop, resulting in only 1,000 new real estate units introduced.
The report highlighted that according to the latest data, the total value of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil commodity foreign trade in the period January – September 2015 was up to AED123.4 billion, with about 9.5% growth compared to the same period of 2014.
This was the result of higher rate of individual non-oil commodity exports up to 63.8%, with the value of exports at AED23.6 billion during the same period of 2015, as well as the higher rate of imports by 8.2% up to AED86.6 billion. Re-exports dropped by 27.7% to about AED13.2 billion during the period January – September 2015, compared to about AED18.2 billion in the same period of 2014.
The top imports were industrial supplies, with 37.2% of total non-oil commodity imports. The data reflects that almost 88.1% of total non-oil commodity imports are the imports of industrial supplies, production goods and transport equipment, while consumer imports (food and beverage) only represent a limited percentage of about 5.7%.
It is noted that the contribution of non-oil commodity exports to total foreign non-oil trade was up by 19.1% during the period January – September 2015, compared to 12.8% in the same period in 2014.
As for capital markets, Abu Dhabi’s 2015 Economic Performance Report said that closure indexes of Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange fell relatively in 2015 compared to 2014. The ADX General Index closed transactions in 2015 at 4,307.26 points, compared with 4,528.93 points at the end of 2014, with a 4.9% drop.
According to the report, the indexes of investment and financial services sector fell by -23.03%, insurance -22.32%, services -17.6%, banking -17.24%, real estate -15.37%, energy -10.96% and industry -2.74%. The ADX witnessed reluctance from portfolios and investors to strongly engage during the most time periods in 2015 and especially in Q3, driven by the events in Chinese capital markets.
The report emphasised that the performance of Abu Dhabi’s capital market in 2015 has been affected by the low oil price, where the price of Abu Dhabi’s Murban crude continued to drop from around 60.7 USD/ barrel in December 2014 to around 37.25 USD/ barrel in December 2014, in addition to declining levels of demand and low purchasing power. The declining growth rates in China and Japan also contributed to the decline in Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange’s indexes.
The index of investment and financial services is the lowest among the nine indexes comprising the ADX index. The volume of dealings in such sector declined from about 3,079,676,291 shares in 2014 to almost 707,150,177 shares in 2015, with 77% drop. The trading value also declined from AED9 billion in 2014 to AED1.9
billion in 2015, with a recession of about 79%.
These figures indicate declined amount of shares traded in investment and financial services’ companies in 2015 with 2.78% of total traded shares in the market, compared with 5.27% in 2014. Also, the percentage of trading value of the total trading values declined to about 3.26% in 2015, while it was 6.2% in 2014.
Amounts of trading in the real estate sector also declined, as trading volume recessed from about 37,198,275,877 shares in 2014 to about 13,802,855,473 shares in 2015, i.e. 63% drop. However, it is still the higher contributor in terms of trading of total traded shares in the market in 2015, with around 54.3% compared to 63.7% in 2014.
In average, most sectors had declined closure indexing in 2015 compared with 2014, except for the telecommunication and consumer staples. Insurance and telecommunications are the only sectors that made a growth rate of trading amounts in 2015, although their respective indexes have declined. The telecommunications sector was the only one among the nine sectors that had higher trading value in 2015, with around AED13.7 billion compared to almost 7 billion in 2014.
UAE nationals hold the majority of shares in Abu Dhabi, around 80.8% as at the end of December 2015 compared with 82% in 2014. In terms of nationals’ holdings of companies’ stock, the services’ sector is at the top with 97.6%, insurance comes second with 94.6% and finally consumer goods with 89.4%. The data indicates that expatriates are interested in the stocks of e-fund, debt instruments and energy, with 47.4%, 46.7% and 33.1% respectively.
The Abu Dhabi’s Economic Performance Report states that according to ADX’s data, the majority of sales and purchases of stocks made by nationals, were recorded at 58.8% and 56.4% respectively. For non-nationals, they recorded 41.2% and 43.6% respectively. These rates are low compared with 2014, where the rates of sales and purchases by Arabs and foreigners were higher. Individuals have the largest percentage of total trading volume in 2015 with purchases of 19,310,959,857 shares, i.e. 69.4% of total purchases, and the largest percentage of sales volume with 73.7% totalling 20,501,088.008 shares. The complementing ratio is the total trading for companies, which was 30.6% and 26.3%, compared to 33.8% and 30.8% in Q2 of 2015.

The report highlights that such rates reflect low corporate turnout for trading by sale and purchase. This is due to fogginess in the economies of major countries and dramatic declines in global stock exchanges in the Q3 of 2015, as well as high USD interest rates.

For the index of standard prices of Abu Dhabi’s consumers, the report explained that it recorded monthly increases during most months of 2015, which ended at 138.1 points in December 2015, compared to 131.2 points in the same month of 2014.

It is noted that the new tariff of water and electricity services was applied in January 2015. Also, fuel prices were liberalised in August. This was reflected in the standard prices for consumers which in turn reflected the annual inflation rates in Abu Dhabi in 2015, which was recorded 5.4% for the said year, according to SCAD reports.

Abu Dhabi’s inflation rate in 2015 was affected by the increased rates of residential water and electricity services since January. The analysis of contributions of the groups forming the Abu Dhabi’s consumer basket to total changes to the recorded consumer prices during the period January-February 2015 demonstrates an increase in the contribution ratio of the group “housing, water, electricity, gas and other fuels” to total changes to the standard consumer prices, where such ratio reached around 85.4%. The relative weight of this group constitutes about 37.9% of total weight of major spending groups in the consumer basket.

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