Emirate's chief economist expects growth to fall by two-thirds in 2009

Dubai said it expects its economy to grow by just under 2.5% this year – a drop of more than two-thirds on 2008’s figures.

The emirate’s chief economist Raed Safadi told an International Monetary Fund briefing that real estate, construction and exports were coming under increased pressure. He added: “We are being challenged on all of these sectors.”

In 2007, the government of Dubai said it wanted to grow at 11% a year through to 2011.

But more evidence of the slowdown across the UAE has come with a report by Dubai-based market research firm Proleads.

It said that $582 billion-worth of projects have been put on hold because of the global slowdown. The report looked at nearly 1,300 projects in January in real estate, infrastructure and leisure and entertainment across the UAE.

The report added: “Within the real estate sector, it is likely that we will witness more deferred projects throughout 2009.”