UAE: New Covid restrictions ‘to ease as vaccine coverage expands’ – News

February 6, 2021 0 By boss

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A range of containment measures helps mitigate Covid-19 spread in the UAE, says US-based IIF

The UAE has limited the health impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, thanks to its relatively young population and a range of containment measures, an international think-tank has said.

“A relatively young population, improved testing, and better treatment of the virus in hospitals have kept the number of deaths in the UAE low,” the Institute of International Finance said in its report on the UAE.

Quoting authorities in the UAE, the Washington DC-based body said restrictions imposed recently again about social distance to contain he pandemic will fade over time as vaccine coverage expands and therapies continue to improve.

New Covid restrictions in UAE:

>> Abu Dhabi: Cinemas shut, malls to operate at 40% capacity

>> Dubai: Full list of new rules for travel, malls, hospitals

The UAE’s coronavirus vaccination is the world’s second fastest after Israel. The target is to immunise more than half of the residents by March and 90 per cent by June.

Domestic demand to lead UAE economy

The Institute of International Finance expects modest economic recovery in 2021, with real GDP growing by 2.3 per cent, following a contraction of 5.7 per cent in 2020.

“The recovery will be supported by the partial recovery in domestic demand and an increase in net exports. Our projections assume that the pandemic will be contained, and oil prices pick up to $52 per barrel in 2021…

“Monetary policies will remain accommodative until the recovery is well-established. The banking system has remained relatively resilient, helped by sound initial capital and liquidity positions and flexible response by the central bank including regulatory forbearance.

“Profitability challenges in the low-interest rate environment may weigh on banks’ ability to expand credit to the private sector,” said Garbis Iradian, chief economist for Mena region at IIF.

The UAE can afford a modestly expansionary fiscal stance in 2021, given its large financial buffers, spare capacity, and a partial recovery in oil prices.

The reprioritisation of spending helped limit the fiscal deficit to 7.3 per cent of GDP in 2020. “We expect the deficit to narrow in 2021 to 4.8 per cent of GDP as the increase in revenues will more than offset the increase in spending,” said Iradian.

The UAE’s external position remains an enviable one, with the current account still in surplus, and public foreign assets at about $845 billion, which is equivalent to 220 per cent of GDP.

IIF’s Iradian hailed the UAE’s major progress made in information and communication technology (ICT) adoption and development of a digital legal framework which were instrumental in overcoming initial challenges in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

“Such progress in digital transformation combined with other structural reforms will help the UAE to further diversify the economy away from oil and boost potential growth,” he said.

The World Economic Forum has ranked the UAE second in ICT adoption, fourth in digital legal framework and sixth in the national Information and Communication Technology Index.

waheedabbas@khaleejtimes.com




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