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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 03/10/2012

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Shaikh Mohammed takes a close look at one of the projects on display after inaugurating Cityscape Global on Tuesday. — Wam
(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Sending a clear message to the international business community that sunny days are here again, a slew of data emerging from different sectors confirmed the UAE's turnaround story is more compelling than ever.

The National Bank of Abu Dhabi (NBAD) revised its economic growth forecast for the UAE to 3.3 per cent from the 2.6 per cent it projected at the beginning of the year as the nation produced more oil, which yielded better prices.

Speaking to reporters after issuing the first Economic Outlook Report on the GCC, Jordan and Egypt, NBAD group chief economist Dr Giyas Gokkent said: "The UAE is in a position to raise output given the availability of new capacity if events continue to unfold as they have in 2012 with Iranian output declining. This would result in an upward revision to our current growth estimate."

Dr Gokkent said that in 2011, real GDP growth accelerated to 4.2 per cent year-on-year, up from 1.3 per cent in 2010, on the back of oil prices. In Dubai, a 3.4 per cent year-on-year growth was driven by the wholesale/retail trade, manufacturing and transport/communication sectors.

Year-on-year, listed Abu Dhabi-based bank assets were up by 6.2 per cent, deposits 6.8 per cent and loans 6.6 per cent in June. This trend is likely to continue due to the economic diversification drive. Abu Dhabi's economy would grow 4.4 per cent in the year, up against an estimated growth of 3.5 per cent last year, the bank said.

According to another data released by the Central Bank on Tuesday, banks and financial institutions in the country sanctioned loans more generously to their credit-hungry customers as they recorded strong growth in deposits during the first seven months of this year. Lending grew 1.9 per cent and bank deposits increased 4.2 per cent during January-July 2012.

According to NBAD, credit growth was also seen in five of the total 12 main sectors of economy in the January-May 2012 period. Loans to these sectors were up by 6.6 billion, including personal loans for consumption that accounted 40 per cent, government 37 per cent, "others" 15.9 per cent, transport/communication 6.8 per cent and manufacturing 0.15 per cent.

The Central Bank said that money supply M0, which includes currency in circulation and currency at banks, increased by 3.8 per cent to Dh55.1 billion at the end of July 2012.

In another positive development, Mohammed Al Shaibani, Director-General of the Dubai Ruler's Court, said the emirate is seeing a recovery in the real estate market.

"Dubai has proved itself over and over again, everybody has learnt the big lesson," Shaibani said at the Cityscape Global property exhibition. "The developers are being more realistic. The banks are more mature."

Dubai's default risk has dropped over the past three years as debt restructuring deals, bond repayments and profits at companies boost confidence in its economic rebound. Sub-market home rental rates are on an "upward curve" in Dubai, CBRE Group said in a report, while the benchmark stock index has gained 18 per cent this year, making it the best performer in the six-nation Gulf Cooperation Council.


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