For the first time ever, the value of GCC value of exports reached $1 trillion, up from $932bn in 2011, according to Dr Giyas Gökkent, NBAD’s group chief economist.
This was almost double the 2009 level of $526bn and UAE exports accounted for about a third of the total.
The value of oil and related exports rose to a new record high of $692bn, up from $644bn in 2011.
Gökkent’s report said that “the GCC is estimated to have registered a trade surplus of $558bn in 2012 (up from $529bn in 2011), again a new record. Services account remained in deficit, while workers’ remittances were a record $77bn culminating in an aggregate current account surplus of $346bn, equivalent to 22.3 per cent of GDP.
“Saudi Arabia accounted for 52 per cent of the GCC
current account surplus with $178.5bn. The UAE current account surplus is estimated at $32bn (8.8 per cent of GDP)
in the same period.
“Also,2012 was a record year in many other respects. It was the second consecutive year with the average price of oil above $100 per barrel. The average price of crude oil (Dubai, spot) was the highest ever at $109.1 per barrel and up from $105.5 per barrel in 2011. Oil production by the GCC region was also at a record level, with crude oil output averaging about 17 million barrels per day.
“The GCC region nominal GDP also reached a new record high at about $1.56 trillion, up from $1.44 trillion in 2011. In aggregate, the GCC region continued its climb and became the 12th largest economy in the world, behind 11th ranked Canada…”
Looking to the future, the report said,” In 2013, the real GDP growth rate in the GCC region is expected to slow to the slowest pace since 2009 – about 3.8 per cent.The main culprit for this slowdown is expected to be a flattening in hydrocarbon sector growth.
“The crude oil output of the four GCC OPEC members rose to 16.3 million bpd in August 2012, but has since declined every month and stood at 15.2 million bpd in January 2013…
“The US Energy information Administration is forecasting a decline in the Brent crude oil spot price to an average of $105 per barrel in 2013 and $99 per barrel in 2014. This compares with an average price of $112 in 2012…
“However, non-oil sectors are forecast to grow by a healthy 5.4 per cent y-o-y in 2013, spearheading overall economic activity given the slowdown in hydrocarbon activity. GCC nominal GDP is forecast to rise to $1.61 trillion in 2013.
“The GCC trade surplus is forecast to ease to $492bn, while the current account surplus is estimated at $270bn (16.8 per cent of GDP). The fiscal surplus is forecast to ease to $171bn (10.6 per cent of GDP)…”