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Ebbs and tides in the Dubai economy

Dubai is a man-made marvel and the only cosmopolitan city in the Emirates that has a fusion of both western and their culture. This has given the foreigners a viable chance to stay and explore. This place is famous for its sightseeing attractions, shopping stalls, cultural highlights, and many making it a traveler’s favorite place. The Emirates has opened its airports, seaports, and commercial areas for foreign arrivals, which resulted in bustling business for the city.

According to the latest data released by Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (Dubai Tourism), the city has welcomed 8.36 million tourists overnight in the first half-year of 2019, which is a three percent hike in the growth compared to last year. In the words of Director General of Dubai Tourism, Helal Saeed Almarri, “Tourism is one of the cornerstones of Dubai’s diversified economic growth, and we measure success based on our ability to aggressively advance towards our goal to be the number one most visited and most preferred city.”

Although tourism brings in good GDP to the Emirate, Dubai’s economy is still experiencing rise and fall for a long time. In the mid-2000s, when the US was in a deep recession and other countries had the repercussions, Dubai’s economy rocketed with tourism as a major factor. The Emirate faced a dip in the year 2009, but the economy upscaled in the following years. Again, in the year 2016, the economy contracted, a repeat of which can be sensed in the current year, October 2019.

According to Information Handling Services Markit (IHS Markit), it is observed that after three years, only last month the prices have tremendously dropped and also seen that Dubai Purchasing Managers Index rose for a third month to 54.6 in October, which is a few points above the threshold of 50 where the growth is separated from contraction.


Looking at the fall of prices in Dubai, David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit said, “It is underpinning the challenge of deflation that the UAE has experienced this year.” He also mentioned, “A good proportion of panelists resorted to further price drops during October, in order to achieve higher sales, as has been the case for the past year-and-a-half.”

Adding to the above, Owen said, “Cost pressures are weak though, while output levels are still rising at a sharp pace, suggesting that businesses are coping with the squeeze on their margins for the time being.”

Over the year-end new attractions such as Dubai Stars, Cityland Mall, Sky Walk, The View, and similar ones will be part of the City of Gold. Come January, the Dubai Shopping Festival is also likely to add significant footfalls (and spends) which could give catapult effect to economy. Would these additions and activities lead to (re)surge in the economy is something to wait and see, both for economists and for common man.

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Balaram Vuchidi

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