Abu Dhabi GDP Growth to Average 2.5% Through 2022, S&P Says

uae's economic growth

(Bloomberg) – Abu Dhabi’s economic growth will average 2.5% in the four years through 2022 as it benefits from higher oil production and prices, S&P Global Ratings estimated.

Abu Dhabi’s economy still depends heavily on oil, deriving 50% of its real gross domestic product and more than 90% of central government revenue from the hydrocarbon sector, the ratings company said in a report May 31. Oil will continue to dominate the economy despite diversification efforts, it said.

S&P Global projects economic growth in the largest and richest of the seven sheikhdoms that make up the U.A.E. to accelerate to 2% this year from 1.8% in 2018. It expects growth to accelerate to 2.5% in 2020 and 2021 before climbing to 3% in 2022. S&P expects Brent will average $60 per barrel this year and next, before dropping to an average $55 a barrel in 2021.

Brent has climbed 20% this year to $64.49 a barrel.

The U.A.E.’s central bank on May 29 provided a grim forecast for OPEC’s third-biggest producer, projecting economic growth will fall far short of previous estimates and undershoot the International Monetary Fund’s projections. The oil economy is set to grow 2.7%, a downward revision from 3.7%, according to the central bank. The non-oil economy will expand an estimated 1.8%, versus an earlier forecast for 3.4%, it said.

The ratings company also:

  • affirmed its AA credit rating for Abu Dhabi, with a stable outlook underpinned by the emirate’s large fiscal buffers
  • projects the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority’s assets will average above 250% of GDP over 2019-2022. ADIA is one of the sheikdom’s sovereign wealth funds.
  • predicted Abu Dhabi may not raise debt in 2019, instead opting to finance its fiscal deficit of 4% of GDP and Eurobond repayment from liquid assets
  • doesn’t expect the Abu Dhabi government will issue domestic bonds over the next couple of years, instead waiting until the UAE federal government does
  • sees Abu Dhabi general government debt levels remaining largely stable at less than 7% of GDP through 2022.