The global financial crisis has not spared the Middle East and Central Asian trade, exports and imports, but some market friendly policies and good economic fundamentals have helped the regions to lessen the impact of the crisis.
Middle East Central Asia Trade, Exports and Imports
According to the International Monetary Fund (IMF), growth in the Middle East region would recover to 3.6% in 2010. The Middle East oil exporting nations, such as Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Moan, Qatar and Yemen, have felt the crisis due to the sharp fall in oil prices. Saudi Arabia will account for 21.5% of the Middle Eastern regional oil demand by 2014, while providing 38.92% of the total supplies. As of 2010, oil exports are growing steadily and are expected to touch 16 million b/d by 2014. In terms of natural gas, the region is expected to grow by 34.1% by 2014.
The value of Saudi non-oil exports in December 2009 totaled SR10,137 million, witnessing a rise of 17% as compared to SR8,680 million during the same period in 2008. Saudi Arabian imports from Dubai in 2009 were dominated by gold worth AED1.076 billion, while milk and dairy products accounted for AED305.837 million in imports. Chocolates and food occupied the third place, with imports totaling AED261.437 million.
In the case of Dubai, metals, processed food products, plastics, and rubber had a share of 87% of the value of Dubai’s exports in 2009. India topped the list of export markets in Dubai, with a share of 40.6%, worth Dh21.3 billion of exported goods. Switzerland came in second with a share of 16.6%, while Saudi Arabia came third with a share of 4%, followed by Pakistan and Iran with shares of 3.l3% and 2.8%, respectively.
Central Asia Trade, Exports and Imports
Kazakhstan’s economy relies heavily on oil and gas exports. In 2008, these resources accounted for 73% of the country’s total exports and its trade surplus was $33.3 billion. Partly to the global economic crisis, the nation’s foreign trade dropped by more than 40% in 2009 from the 2008 levels. Turkmenistan, another major oil exporter in the region, also suffered from falling energy prices. Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan have a large overseas worker pool in Russia. Being large labor exporters, the remittances account for 66% of the GDP of both countries.
Kazakhstan’s exports were worth $41.64 billion in 2009, a sharp fall from 2008 figures of $71.97 billion. Oil, oil products, ferrous metals, chemical, machinery, etc., were the top export commodities in 2009. Its primary export partners were China, Russia, Germany, Italy, Romania, France and Turkey. Kazakhstan’s imports in 2009 were worth $25.15 billion, and its top import commodities included food, metal products, etc. Its primary import partners were Russia, China, Ukraine and Germany.