The UAE maintained its position as the second largest Arab economy in 2012 after its gross domestic product (GDP) swelled by US$23 billion in current prices, according to a Western report.
The report by the Washington-based Institute for International Finance (IIF) showed the UAE has remained the second largest Arab economy after Saudi Arabia for more than 10 years because of a steady and rapid growth in its GDP as a result of high public spending, a surge in oil prices and a steady increase in private sector investment.
The report showed the UAE's GDP grew to its highest ever level of around US$375 billion in current prices last year from US$352 billion in 2011, an increase of about 6.5 per cent. The 2012 GDP was more than double its level of nearly US$181 billion in 2006.
IIF, which groups major banks in Western countries, said Saudi Arabia remained the largest economy in the region with a GDP of around US$640 billion in 2012 mainly because of its massive oil output which reached one of its highest annual averages of 9.8 million bpd last year.
The report showed the UAE's economy accounted for more than a quarter of the GCC"s GDP of US$1.482 trillion in 2012 and nearly 14 per cent of the combined GDP of MENA countries.
Egypt emerged as the third largest Arab economy with a GDP of around US$257 billion, followed by Algeria with US$197 billion, Qatar with US$182 billion and Kuwait with around US$178 billion.
Despite the massive increase in its population over the past years, the UAE maintained its position as one of the richest nations and the third in the Arab region, with its per capita reaching one of its highest levels of US$45,731 in 2012, according to IIF, which ranked Qatar and Kuwait in the first and second wealthiest Arab countries.
IIF expected the UAE economy to continue its rise to reach US$395 billion in 2013 and a record high of around US$410 billion in 2014.