The UAE recorded a 2.5% growth increase in its non-oil economy last year compared to 2016, with the country’s non-oil sectors contributing 70.5% to real gross domestic product (GDP) in 2017, new data from the UAE’s Ministry of Economy has revealed.

This increase, the ministry said in its Annual Achievements Report 2018, “reflects a positive trend in fast tracking the economic diversification agenda of the state”, with non-oil GDP for 2017 standing at $272.3bn (AED1tn).

More generally, real GDP in 2017 amounted to more than $386.6bn (AED1.42tn), an increase of 0.8% compared to 2016.

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HE Eng Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansoori, UAE Minister of Economy, said the the country's economy has achieved “several developmental milestones in 2018, which have contributed to stimulating growth, enhancing its competitiveness and ensuring the sustainable development of the economy”.

The report, citing findings from the International Monetary Fund, said the UAE economy had displayed “flexibility and adaptability in the face of low and volatile oil price challenges over the past years”.

With this in mind, the UAE’s account deficit is expected to exceed 7% of GDP this year, the ministry added, as the momentum of non-oil economic activity increases.

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This is expected to raise the real GDP growth estimate for the UAE this year to 2.9%, with a further rise expected during 2019 at a rate of 3.7%.

Mansoori said such figures reflected the country’s continuing economic diversification agenda, citing a group of vital and value-added sectors which he said had witnessed good growth rates. Notable sectors included manufacturing, which grew 3.4%; transport and storage, which expanded by by 2.7%; real estate, with 2.8% growth; and tourism, which saw a 3.9% rise.