Dubai’s gross domestic product (GDP) growth is expected to pick up and average about 2.5 percent annually over 2019-2022, S&P Global Ratings said in a recent report.

The growth will be supported by increased economic activity associated with Expo 2020 and, after that, by traditional growth engines such as trade and transportation.

Macroeconomic conditions in Dubai have deteriorated since 2013 in part due to lower oil prices and the deterioration in regional political relations, the ratings agency said.

It noted that residential property prices in Dubai have been declining over the past few years and are approaching levels last seen at the depth of the 2009-2010 property crash.

“We expect a marginal pickup in economic growth to 2.4 percent in 2019, with support coming largely from the construction and real estate sectors. We expect the completion of Expo 2020-related infrastructure projects and additional residential housing supply to enter the market from existing projects this year,” the ratings agency said.

“A boost to tourism and related spending linked to Expo 2020 should drive somewhat stronger growth in 2020. However, after the Expo, economic growth will likely to ease in our view to around 2 percent through 2022, sustained by traditional growth engines such as trade and transportation,” it added.

However, S&P said downside risks to growth have risen from trade and the real estate sector.

“In our view, relatively low oil prices, accompanied by slower regional demand and rising protectionism in the US and China, could further slow Dubai’s transshipment trade flows, which have been sluggish since 2016,” the report noted.

S&P Global Ratings said earlier that it expects real estate prices in Dubai to fall by another 5 to 10 percent in 2019.

“However, a longer and deeper downturn in the real estate market than we currently anticipate could significantly dampen economic activity and increase pressure on government finances,” it noted.


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