Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Dates are big business in Dubai

- UAE is world’s fourth largest exporter of dates and among the top 10 importers of the commodity

– Morocco and Oman were the largest importers of Dubai dates in 2016

Research conducted by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) has revealed that Dubai’s total date trade amounted to US$221.7 million in 2016, of which exports accounted for the largest share (US$85.1 million), followed by imports (US$72.1 million) and re-exports (US$64.5 million).

Dubai’s export share of the emirate’s total date trade stood at 38% in 2016. Compared to other emirates, Dubai was the top exporter of dates to other countries in 2015 with 96% market share of the UAE’s date exports. The UAE’s share of global date exports stood at 8.5%, or US$96.3 million in 2015, according to data from Trade Map, making the country the world’s fourth largest exporter of dates.

Southeast Asia and the Middle East and North Africa were identified as the top importing regions for UAE dates. However, North America and Europe were also among the largest date importers.

The analysis pointed out that Dubai’s date exports recorded a CAGR of 34.1% between 2011 and 2015. The quantity of dates exported from the emirate in 2016 amounted to 108,300 tonnes, which is slightly below peak levels seen in 2015.

Source: DCCI, Dubai Customs. Dubai’s date trade, (US$ million), 2011 to 2016.
Source: DCCI, Dubai Customs. Dubai’s date trade, (US$ million), 2011 to 2016. 

The price of dates exported from Dubai in 2016 stood at US$786 per tonne, while the price for re-exports and imports were US$405 per tonne and US$399 per tonne respectively. The export prices from Dubai are more expensive due to the high quality of dates when compared to those that were re-exported and imported.

The UAE was one of the world’s top 10 importers of dates in 2016.
India accounted for the largest share of Dubai’s date re-exports during the same year with 63%, followed by Bangladesh (13%), Pakistan (4%), while dates imported to the emirate mainly came from countries within the Middle East and Africa region.

Asian countries accounted for most of the imports in the top five. Oman had 13% market share, then India (12%), Bangladesh (12%), and Indonesia (10%). In terms of quantity, Bangladesh was the largest importer of Dubai dates during the same year as its volume of imports reached 17,600 tonnes or 16.3% of total exports, followed by India (15.6%), Morocco (15.3%), and Oman (12.2%).

Source: DCCI. Top 10 export destinations for Dubai’s dates, (% share), 2016.
Source: DCCI. Top 10 export destinations for Dubai’s dates, (% share), 2016.

Export prices are dependent on the quality of dates and trade costs. In 2016, 77% of the dates exported by Dubai fell into the categories of high-quality, fresh and chilled.

In 2015, global date imports reached US$1.1 billion, and India was the world’s largest buyer of dates during the year, accounting for an import value of US$188.7 million and a market share of 17%.

The analysis highlighted the need to diversify UAE’s date exports beyond fresh and dried dates to other date-based products such as date syrup, date vinegar, and date paste. In addition, blending dates into chocolate or coffee products has the potential to increase interest and demand, DCCI said.