chapter  2
35 Pages

The Financial Markets of the United Arab Emirates

Over the last four decades, the economic and financial development of the UAE has been nothing short of stunning. The country sits on top of the 8th largest oil reserves in the world (97.8 billion BOE or 6% of global proven reserves) and is the second largest economy in the Gulf, second only to Saudi Arabia.3 While this oil wealth has been critical for the country’s development, like many its oil-rich peers, economic diversification has been a key aspect of national policy for years. Unlike others though, these diversification efforts have been successful, taking the country’s non-oil contribution to GDP from 37% in 1972 to 69% in 2015 and laying the foundation upon which the UAE’s role as trade and finance hub have flourished.4 As a testament to this diversification, in 2015, despite uncertainty over the future of oil prices, foreign direct investment inflows were US$10.9 billion, or around 3% of GDP, more than similar metrics for both Turkey and Mexico that year.5