Oman and the UAE feature in the top 10 markets that have most rapidly improved their trade growth potential over the past decade, according to new research from Standard Chartered. The Trade20 Index, which identifies the 20 rising stars of global trade, also features Bahrain among the nations that have shown the most progression.
While existing trade powers like China and India continue to rapidly improve their potential, Middle Eastern countries have made strong progress. They are driven by export diversity improvements, indicating the economies are successfully moving away from over-reliance on oil.
The key findings of the Trade20 Index for Middle Eastern markets are:
- Bahrain is a leader in terms of improving diversification, indicating that the country’s long-term efforts to move its economy away from a reliance on oil and develop its manufacturing, finance and services sectors
- The UAE sits at the top of a list of several Middle Eastern markets that are showing impressive trade readiness momentum, propelled by infrastructure investment and an e-commerce market that is rapidly gathering pace. The UAE has shown swifter progress than any other Middle Eastern nation, due largely to the government’s energetic focus on infrastructure improvements
- Oman is showing progress in terms of both economic diversity and trade readiness. It is implementing a diversification strategy that aims to focus on non-oil sectors such as manufacturing, logistics, tourism, fishing and mining, capitalising on its natural resources
- While they didn’t make the top 20, other Middle East countries feature across the Trade20 index pillars, including Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Qatar. Even though some of these markets have made great improvements in trade, the fact that these changes have happened more recently mean that they have not appeared in the overall index
Sarmad Lone, Regional Co-Head, Global Banking, African Middle East, Standard Chartered, said: “There are tremendous opportunities arising from the modernisation and diversification that we are seeing throughout the Middle East, all of which will help to improve the region’s bid to become a financial and investment hub.
“The UAE’s position in the middle of Asia and Africa is helping to connect these important financial and trade corridors with the Middle East. Substantial opportunities are on the horizon, including those arising from the closer relationship between the UAE and China through the Belt & Road initiative.”