United Arab Emirates’ non-oil trade reached AED1.628 trillion ($443bn) in 2018 according to a statement from the Federal Customs Authority (FCA) on Tuesday. Non-oil trade accounted for 63% of the total value while free zone trade and customs warehouses amounted to 36% and 1% respectively.

Commenting on the results, Ali Saeed Matar Al Neyadi, Customs Commissioner and Chairman of the Authority said that, “the UAE non-oil foreign trade witnessed positive and significant developments in the said year, most important of which is the continuation of growth and stability in UAE Foreign Trade with the rest of the world which enhanced the UAE position as a strategic, commercial gate for the states in the region,” as quoted in the Khaleej Times.

While intra-regional trade increased by only two points to 21%, re-exports from UAE to Arab states surged to $46.31 billion, representing a significant surplus in trade balance. According to Al Neyadi, the “gold and aluminium trade is 2019 has consolidated the UAE industry’s position in global markets, with the country’s export of raw and half-finished gold increasing to $14.54 billion and and raw aluminium to just over $5 billion.

Looking ahead, Moody’s Investors Service anticipates the UAE to gain economic momentum over the next 18 months thanks to increased public spending from Abu Dhabi. With economic diversification continuing to play a key role in the country’s ongoing development, it is anticipated that its GDP will increase to 3% by 2020.

Moody’s affirmed a long-term issuer rating of the UAE government and the emirate of Abu Dhabi in March at Aa2, based on “sovereign fiscal strength, low federal government debt, high wealth levels and robust institutions.”