Dubai 2009 Nominal Non-Oil GDP Down Nearly 25% YoY

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Includes: GAF, GULF, MES
by: Andrew Butter

Expect the first official Dubai GDP figures for 2009 to be released near the end of July 2010, which makes things complicated if you are modeling house prices in Dubai.

I suppose, given the “circumstances” it’s anyone’s guess what they will say, particularly seeing as the official line in is that everything is just fine and Dubai’s GDP will be $150 billion by 2015 which is about 15% per year (nominal) since 2008 when the nominal GDP was (according to Dubai Municipality) about $50 billion.

But I can’t seem to get onto the Dubai Municipality web-site which used to have very good statistics (if a bit late), and the new Dubai Statistics portal which for a long time didn’t have any statistics, now has three years of data which is an infinite improvement over no data, but you can’t do much with three points of data.

Dubai used to be really efficient, but for some reason it's getting more and more difficult to get up to-date data.

Another thing is that I got 2006 and 2007 data from the DM site (previously) and it looks like the "new" 2007 figures are 33% higher than the ones I got on the DM site. Life is full of mysteries.

Anyway, I got data going back to 1985 and there is a 99% correlation between total hotel and restaurant revenues and non-oil GDP. That’s not a direct correlation by the way; GDP drives hotel revenues, not the other way around.

Oil GDP isn’t hard to figure (from the oil price and data from the Petroleum Economist (it’s apparently a secret in Dubai so I’m not going to tell you what that number is, although I can’t stop you looking it up).

Based on the numbers for hotel revenues which I just pulled together, my estimate is that nominal GDP in Dubai in 2009 was just 76.4% of 2008's figure.

If you believe that nominal GDP was AED 301 billion in 2008 ($82 billion), then that suggests 2009 was about AED 230 billion ($66 billion).

That more or less jives with what I thought it would be looking at the sectors last November when I figured 2009's GDP would be about 80% of 2008's.

Given that I reckon (and I’m not the only one) that oil prices are likely to remain in the $65 to $85 range (high oil prices are good for Dubai since it services a region with lots of it, although it doesn’t have much itself), plus the fact that Dubai is now a much more cost competitive place to do business (rents and hotel rates have gone right down), I would expect a 12% to 15% nominal GDP gain in 2010.

Disclosure: No positions