Foreign trade is one of the most important tributaries of economic development in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, in addition to its role in securing local market needs of different commodities. Exporting process of surplus local goods and commodities to foreign markets, and importing of other commodities for re-export, increases the flow of financial resources needed to finance economic development, modernization and implementation of various economic plans. This process on the other hand, raises GDP, and contributes to the expansion and diversification of production.
Commodity Exports: The commodity exports of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi achieved a significant increase in 2011 by 38.5%, as its value exceeded AED 416 billion. That was attributed mainly to the surge in oil exports, which rose by 41.5% to more than AED 393 billion during the same year. In turn, this contributed to the increase in the average annual growth rate of total commodity exports during the last five years which reached 14% during the period (2006-2011). The value of Abu Dhabi’s non-oil commodity exports amounted to AED 11.5 billion in 2011, less by 1% compared to 2010. The value of re-exports reached AED 11.6 billion, increasing by nearly 5.2% compared to 2010.
The “industrial supplies” commodity group (not classified elsewhere)” acquired 47.3% of total non-oil exports, as its exports amounted to AED 5.4 billion in 2011, increasing by 18.8% (AED 0.86 billion), compared to 2010. The “capital goods” group (excluding transport equipments)” came in second place on the list of most important export commodities, as exports of this group amounted to AED 4.8 billion. These two groups accounted for 89% of the total value of non-oil exports in 2011.
Commodity Imports: Abu Dhabi commodity imports totaled AED 116.4 billion in 2011, compared to AED 86.6 billion in 2010, registering a growth rate of 34.4%, while the annual growth rate of total commodity imports stood at 19.7% on average during the period (2006-2011).
Coverage Ratios of Exports to Imports: Abu Dhabi’s exports continued to cover commodity imports at very high ratios during the period (2006-2011), where coverage ratio reached 358% in 2011, confirming the ability of Abu Dhabi’s exports to secure the needs of economic development, and meet the needs and requirements of the population. The ability of exports to cover imports was mainly due to the enormous high ability of oil exports to cover imports, as the coverage ratio exceeded 388% in 2011. The non-oil exports (excluding re-exports) coverage to imports did not exceed 10%, while the percentage coverage of total non-oil exports (including re-exports) to imports reached 19.8% in 2011.
Balance of Trade: Abu Dhabi trade surplus increased significantly in 2011, reaching AED 300 billion, compared to AED 214 billion in 2010, marking a growth rate of 40%. This was a natural outcome of the big boom in oil exports, as a result of the increase in oil prices in world markets.