Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

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The International Monetary Fund raised its forecast for the UAE's economic growth this year and next on expectations that oil production and government spending will increase.

The Gulf nation's economy is projected to expand 2.9 per cent this year and 3.7 per cent in 2019, Natalia Tamirisa, the IMF's UAE mission chief, said in a statement late on Sunday.

"Given large fiscal buffers, ample spare capacity, and rising investment needs for Expo 2020, the government has appropriately switched to providing stimulus to the economy," said Ms Tamirisa.

The UAE announced a series of new policies this year to spur economic growth and investment, including changes to the country’s sponsorship system and new regulations that permit companies to operate without a physical office. The measures follow from a three-year Dh50bn stimulus package for Abu Dhabi announced in June. The plan, called Ghadan 2021 (Tomorrow 2021), has 50 initiatives to stimulate investment and job creation. It aims to slash red tape for businesses and boost investor confidence in the emirate’s economy.

"Front-loading stimulus measures and focusing them on productive spending, consistent with the Vision 2021 goals of diversifying the economy and raising productivity, would augment their impact on growth," Ms Tamirisa added.

The comments followed an IMF staff mission to the UAE from September 16 to 30. In April, the IMF predicted that the Arab world's second-biggest economy would grow 2 per cent this year and 3 per cent in 2019. A rebound in oil prices to a four-year high has given the government more revenues to spend, prompting a stimulus package to bolster economic growth. Ahead of looming US sanctions against Iran, Opec's third largest producer, Brent crude oil prices rose to $83.27 a barrel on Monday. On Sunday, the UAE cabinet approved its largest federal budget ever, up by 17.3 per cent from last year. In mid-2018, global oil producers agreed to increase output, allowing the UAE to begin raising its production.

Updated: October 9, 2018 11:47 AM

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