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UAE economy minister: hard for 2016 growth to exceed 3 pct

Officials have estimated the UAE’s gross domestic product expanded between 3 and 3.5 percent in 2015

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Low oil prices mean it will be difficult for the economy of the United Arab Emirates to grow more than 3 percent this year, economy minister Sultan bin Saeed al-Mansouri told reporters on Thursday.

“It is a challenge, not only for us, for everyone. It all depends on what will happen to prices of oil as we move on,” Mansouri said.

Officials have estimated the UAE’s gross domestic product expanded between 3 and 3.5 percent in 2015. In December, Mansouri predicted economic growth would be in the same range during 2016.

He also said on Thursday that at a recent meeting of top officials on the economy, they had decided to aim to reduce oil’s contribution to GDP to 20 percent by 2021 from about 30 percent currently, by diversifying the economy.