Finding Out About...

Dubai Market



Dubai at night

  Australia, Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates

Economy —



Australia   Australia has a Western-style capitalist economy, with a per capita GDP on par with the four dominant West European economies. Rising output in the domestic economy, robust business and consumer confidence, and rising exports of raw materials and agricultural products are fuelling the economy. Australia's emphasis on reforms, low inflation, and growing ties with China are other key factors behind the economy's strength. The impact of drought, weak foreign demand, and strong import demand pushed the trade deficit up from $8 billion in 2002, to $18 billion in 2003, $13 billion in 2004, and $16 billion in 2005. Housing prices probably peaked in 2005, diminishing the prospect that interest rates would be raised to prevent a speculative bubble. Conservative fiscal policies have kept Australia's budget in surplus from 2002 to 2005.
Kuwait   Kuwait is a small, rich, relatively open economy with proved crude oil reserves of about 96 billion barrels — 10% of world reserves. Petroleum accounts for nearly half of GDP, 95% of export revenues, and 80% of government income. Kuwait's climate limits agricultural development. Consequently, with the exception of fish, it depends almost wholly on food imports. About 75% of potable water must be distilled or imported. Kuwait continues its discussions with foreign oil companies to develop fields in the northern part of the country.
Qatar   Oil and gas account for more than 60% of GDP, roughly 85% of export earnings, and 70% of government revenues. Oil and gas have given Qatar a per capita GDP about 80% of that of the leading West European industrial countries. Proved oil reserves of 16 billion barrels should ensure continued output at current levels for 23 years. Qatar's proved reserves of natural gas exceed 14 trillion cubic meters, more than 5% of the world total and third largest in the world. Qatar has permitted substantial foreign investment in the development of its gas fields during the last decade and is expected to become the world's top liquefied natural gas (LNG) exporter by 2007. In recent years, Qatar has consistently posted trade surpluses largely because of high oil prices and increased natural gas exports, becoming one of the world's fastest growing and highest per-capita income countries.
United Arab
  The UAE has an open economy with a high per capita income and a sizable annual trade surplus. Its wealth is based on oil and gas output (about 30% of GDP), and the fortunes of the economy fluctuate with the prices of those commodities. Since the discovery of oil in the UAE more than 30 years ago, the UAE has undergone a profound transformation from an impoverished region of small desert principalities to a modern state with a high standard of living. At present levels of production, oil and gas reserves should last for more than 100 years. The government has increased spending on job creation and infrastructure expansion and is opening up its utilities to greater private sector involvement. Higher oil revenue, strong liquidity, and cheap credit in 2005 led to a surge in asset prices (shares and real estate) and consumer inflation. Any sharp correction to the UAE's equity markets could damage investor and consumer sentiment and affect bank asset quality. In April 2004, the UAE signed a Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) with Washington and in November 2004 agreed to undertake negotiations toward a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the US.