DUBAI – The UAE’s hydrocarbon export earnings are expected to climb to their highest ever level of more than $122 billion in 2012 because of high production and prices, said the IMF.
IMF expects country’s output at 2.6 mbpd and crude prices at record $122 billion. The UAE pumped around 2.6 million barrels per day of crude in 2011 and output is projected to remain unchanged in 2012, it said. Global crude prices could climb to a record high average of about $119.7 a barrel this year to break a previous record of $109.6 in 2011. This high price range will lift the country’s oil and gas export revenues to nearly $122.1 billion in 2012 compared with $111.6 billion in 2011.
Gulf economies are expected to benefit from rapidly rising oil prices, the lender said in its GCC Quarterly update. The benchmark rate for Brent crude reached $123 per barrel in March, the highest monthly average since July 2008 on the back of geopolitical tension and risk.
The IMF said the surge in the UAE’s hydrocarbon export income lifted its nominal GDP by around 20.8 per cent to $360 billion in 2011 from $298 billion in 2010. It expected GDP to swell further to $386 billion in 2012 and $394 billion in 2013.
In a separate report entitled "Towards New Arrangements for State Ownership in the Middle East and North Africa," the OECD said state-owned enterprises, or SOEs, wield huge influence in MENA economies but many are subject to "undue political influence and conflicts of interest." It urged a shake-up of the way such companies are run while also observing that privatization is not the only answer to reforming state-owned firms.
The report said SOEs are expected to account for nearly half of all economic activity in the MENA area this year, and cautioned that they must implement corporate governance and be transparent to accompany new economic and political developments in the region.
The report said SOEs in the region provided nearly 30 per cent of all employment, compared with two to three per cent in the advanced countries belonging to the OECD.
On average SOEs "play a crucial role in employment generation or preservation, contribution to fiscal budgets, infrastructure creation and industrial development," the organization said.
The number of listed SOEs in the region in the past decade has grown to "32 of the top 100 largest listed companies in the region, corresponding to approximately 45 per cent of total market capitalization," it added. Even still, there are currently over 2000 non-listed SOEs in the region. – SG