Preliminary statistics from the UAE’s Federal Customs Authority show an almost 25% year-on-year rise in non-oil foreign trade for the region.
Total non-oil trade has leapt from Dh299.2bn (US$81.5bn) in the first five months of 2010 to Dh370.3bn (US$100.8bn) during the same period of 2011 for an increase of 24%.
Non-oil exports saw the biggest proportional year-on-year rise of 41% from Dh31bn to Dh43.5bn, while imports also increased by 22% from Dh195bn to Dh237.4bn.
However, even though there have been solid rises in both areas, there was still a widening trade deficit of Dh193.9bn for the first five months of 2011.
Re-exports, which the UAE has a healthy market in thanks to its proximity to neighbouring states that are currently subject to international sanctions, were also lifted by 22% from Dh73.3bn to Dh89.4bn.
Non-oil exports to India, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, Kuwait, Iran, Turkey, France, Singapore, Iraq and Hong Kong accounted for 68% of the country’s overseas sales.
India, China, the US, Germany, South Korea, Japan, Italy, Switzerland and the UK topped countries exporting to the UAE, reaching a combined total of 60% of all UAE imports.
The UAE’s re-exports mostly passed through to countries such as Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, India, Hong Kong and Belgium.
Early statistics from the authority show that gold ranked first for both imports and exports during May 2011, while diamonds were the most re-exported item.