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United Arab Emirates Trade: Gold Tops Both Imports & Exports

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This guide provides an overview of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) economy, including the country’s primary imports and exports.

UAE Economy Overview

Currently ranked as the 28th largest economy in the world, the UAE has annual exports of $242 billion and imports of $232 billion, resulting in a positive trade balance of $9.67 billion.

The GDP of the UAE is $414 billion. This equates to a GDP per capita of $43,005.

Dubai at Night
Dubai is the economic hub of the United Arab Emirates. Image via Pixabay. (License)

Top UAE Exports

Here is a breakdown of the most important products exported by the UAE, both commodities and other notable exports.

Commodity Exports

  • Crude petroleum – $58.1 billion
  • Refined petroleum – $32.3 billion
  • Gold – $15.4 billion
  • Diamonds – $10.2 billion
  • Petroleum gas – $6.51 billion

If you’re interested in trading some of these commodities, you can jump to our list of recommended regulated brokers in at the end of the page.

Other Notable Exports

  • Jewelry – $12.2 billion
  • Broadcasting equipment – $9.99 billion
  • Cars – $7.87 billion
  • Raw aluminum – $6.18 billion
  • Rolled tobacco – $3.71 billion

Top export destinations of the United Arab Emirates are India ($23.8 billion), Japan ($21.7 billion), China ($17.4 billion), Saudi Arabia ($17.2 billion), and Oman ($11.7 billion).

Top UAE Imports

Here is a breakdown of the most important products imported by the UAE, both commodities and other notable imports.

Commodity Imports

  • Gold – $27.3 billion
  • Refined petroleum – $12.8 billion
  • Diamonds – $11.1 billion
  • Crude petroleum – $3.48 billion
  • Refined copper – $2.78 billion

Other Notable Imports

  • Broadcasting Equipment – $15.5 billion
  • Jewelry – $13.4 billion
  • Cars – $11.3 billion
  • Gas Turbines – $5.16 billion
  • Computers – $4.02 billion.

Details on the UAE Imports/Exports

uae map
Source: WikiMedia Commons


As the country’s leading export product, gold is a significant commodity for the UAE, representing 6.36% of its total exports.

The global export market for gold is worth $305 billion. The UAE is ranked as the 6th largest exporter in the world with a 5.04% share of the market, behind leaders Switzerland (20.9%) and the UK (8.46%).


Global diamond exports total $116 billion annually. The UAE is the 5th largest exporting country, with an 8.8% market share.

Almost half of the UAE’s diamonds are destined for India (49.3%), with Belgium-Luxembourg (21.1%) and Hong Kong (15.3%) the 2nd and 3rd biggest export partners.


The worldwide aluminum export market is worth $61.1 billion. The UAE is ranked as the 2nd largest exporter, with a 10.1% market share.

Aluminum exports have grown rapidly for the United Arab Emirates in recent years. Between 2017 and 2018, growth of 29% was recorded when exports increased from $4.79 billion to $6.18 billion.

Copper Wire

Copper wire exports represent 0.9% of the UAE’s total export value. The country also has a 10.5% share of a worldwide market that is worth $20.7 billion annually. This makes the United Arab Emirates the 2nd largest exporter of copper wire in the world after Germany.

Rolled Tobacco

The global export market for rolled tobacco is worth $27 billion each year. The UAE is the biggest exporter with a 13.8% share of the market, followed by Poland (12.7%) and Germany (11.3%).

Iraq and Iran are key destinations for the United Arab Emirates’s rolled tobacco exports, receiving almost 50% of its total exports of this commodity.

Interesting Facts About the UAE

  • The Burj Khalifa is 818 meters high and has held the record as the tallest building in the world since 2008.
  • The Dubai police’s fleet of cars includes a Bentley, Ferrari, and Lamborghini.
  • Dubai has no postal address system, no zip codes, and no area codes. Senders have to include precise instructions on how to find the destination.

Interested in Trading Commodities?

Interested in trading gold, petroleum, aluminum, and other important commodities from the United Arab Emirates? Start your research with reviews of these regulated brokers available in .

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