UAE economy forecast to 'fully recover' in 2022 with 3.5% GDP growth

New UAE Central Bank report says economy will be buoyed by increasing fiscal spending, a pick-up in credit and employment and Expo 2020 Dubai

UAE economic growth is forecast to recover fully from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic in 2022, with real gross domestic product (GDP) seen rising by 3.5 percent.

According to new figures released by the Central Bank of the UAE on Thursday, real GDP will rebound to positive growth of 2.5 percent in 2021.

It said non-oil GDP will grow by 3.6 percent while the country's oil economy is likely to remain flat based on the OPEC+ production schedule and announcements.

In its report, the central bank said real non-oil GDP growth is expected to be driven by increasing fiscal spending, a pick-up in credit and employment, relative stabilization of the real estate market and Expo 2020 Dubai, which is set to start on October 1.

It added that in 2022, a full recovery is expected, with overall real GDP increasing by 3.5 percent, with non-oil real GDP rising by 3.9 percent.

"This will be the result of the continued fiscal spending growth, healthy banks’ credit growth, strong improvement in employment and recovered business sentiment, with part of Dubai Expo 2021 taking place in 2022 as well," noted the report, cited by state news agency WAM.

In January, the UAE approved amendments to its nationality laws to attract more foreign talent to contribute to the country's "development journey".

It was the latest in a series of initiatives recently announced by the UAE as its economy looks to rebound from the impact of the global coronavirus pandemic.

The UAE abolished the need for companies to have Emirati shareholders late last year, in a major shake-up of foreign ownership laws aimed at attracting investment into an economy reeling from the coronavirus and a decline in oil prices.

In September, Dubai launched a retirement programme for resident expatriates and foreigners over the age of 55.

Retire in Dubai, the first of its kind in the region, is being spearheaded by Dubai Tourism in collaboration with the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs.

Eligible applicants will be provided a retirement visa, renewable every five years. The retiree can choose between one of three financial requirements for eligibility: earning a monthly income of AED20,000 ($5,500); having savings of AED1 million ($275,000); or owning a property in Dubai worth AED2 million ($550,000)

In its initial phase, the programme will focus on UAE residents working in Dubai who have reached retirement age.

Dubai has also recently launched the Virtual Company Licence, which allows global businesses to access a regulated e-commerce platform populated by Dubai-based companies, while also exploring new markets and investment opportunities digitally.

The initiative, which allows investors worldwide to do business in Dubai digitally without having to live in the emirate, is expected to attract more than 100,000 companies.

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