UAE Predicts 3.2% Growth in 2010

Country sees a period of gradual growth

In sharp contrast to an International Monetary Fund forecast of 0.6% growth, the United Arab Emirates economy is expected to expand by 3.2% in 2010, UAE Economy Minster Sultan al-Mansuri said on March 10.

"The coming period will witness gradual growth, initially, picking up momentum," said Sultan al-Mansuri told a forum in Dubai.

He also said the oil-rich Gulf state's economy grew by an estimated 1.3% last year, although the IMF said last month that the UAE economy had contracted by 0.7% in 2009 due to the global financial crisis.

"Our GDP (gross domestic product) grew 6.2% in 2007 and 7.4% in 2008 and (had) an estimated growth of 1.3% in 2009 and (is expected to grow) 3.2% in 2010," he said.

The IMF said last month that the UAE's economy was "adversely affected by a series of external and domestic shocks in 2009."

These shocks included the global economic slowdown, the shutdown of international capital markets for borrowing and the impact of the "bursting Dubai property bubble in mid-2008," the IMF said.

The economy was also affected by plummeting oil receipts, and a contraction in global trade, logistics and construction activities.

And it was disrupted in the final quarter by Dubai's multi-billion-dollar debt woes, when the emirate's government announced it would seek to freeze debt payments by its largest and most-indebted group -- Dubai World.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2010

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