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MENAFN - Khaleej Times - 07/10/2012

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(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Abu Dhabi and Dubai are staging a gradual recovery from a slowdown, helped by high oil prices, accommodative monetary policy and fiscal policies in mild consolidation drive, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, or BofA ML, Global Research said.

"We thus see upside to our conservative real gross domestic product, or GDP, growth projections for the UAE of three per cent for 2012 and 2013," the bank said in a statement.

The International Monetary Fund has estimated the GDP to grow by 3.5 per cent for the UAE. But the country's central bank said recently that it could see an upside to IMF forecast.

According to the regulator, Dubai may achieve four per cent growth or more while an equally high growth is expected of Abu Dhabi following the recent decisions to create two new industrial clusters and to go on with some landmark projects, increased public spending in Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah and Fujairah, and expected high oil prices for the whole year.

"Abu Dhabi's real non-hydrocarbon GDP growth has gradually recovered and likely implies upside to our real GDP growth projection of three per cent for 2012 for the UAE. Moderate ongoing fiscal consolidation and lower support to distressed entities should then allow capital spending to gradually increase while lowering the current elevated central government fiscal breakeven oil price of 100 per barrel," BofA ML said.

The bank noted that exceptional support to Dubai, banks and quasi-sovereign entities in 2009 has led to a near quadrupling of the Abu Dhabi central government fiscal oil breakeven price from 33 per barrel at the eve of the global financial crisis in 2007 to a peak of 121 per barrel in 2009.

"At -21.8 per cent of GDP, the 2009 fiscal balance registered its worst reading since at least 1980, and only moderately narrowed to -10.8 per cent and - 4.1 per cent of GDP in 2010 and 2011, respectively, on a decidedly countercyclical or expansionary fiscal policy," BofA ML said.

The bank projected a 2012 fiscal breakeven price at 103 per barrel, assuming historical fiscal intake in line with recent outturns, which should lead to a moderate fiscal surplus of 2.8 per cent of GDP.

"This will be the first fiscal surplus since 2008 but still the smallest since 2004, and assumes a gradual decrease in net loans and equity and a moderate increase in capital spending," it said.

 






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