UAE budget balance improves as economy rebounds from COVID-19 pandemic

The United Arab Emirates budget balance improved in the first half of the year as the economy began recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic, the state news agency WAM reported, citing a ministerial meeting attended by the central bank governor.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, Dubai’s ruler, said the UAE plans to enter 25 new international markets for foreign trade, with the goal of boosting exports by 50 percent in the next few years, WAM said in a separate report.

The UAE, a commerce and trade hub, was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic which had a crippling impact on sectors vital to its economy like tourism and hospitality.

Preliminary data in May showed the economy shrank 6.1 percent in 2020, while the central bank has said it expects GDP to grow 2.5 percent this year.

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