Total expenditure was projected at 52 billion dirhams ($14.1 billion) against an income of 56 billion dirhams, leaving a surplus of 4 billion dirhams, the Dubai-based English newspaper Gulf News quoted the official Emirates News Agency WAM as reporting.

"For the first time, Dubai is coming out with a budget. This is a very important step and will send out the right message to corporations that are coming into Dubai," a Dubai-based economist told regional newspaper Gulf News.

"It indicates the financial stability of Dubai, sending out a strong message to oil producing countries to diversify their economies. The transparency also sends out the right message to foreign investors about Dubai's income," Muhammad al-Asumi said.

Dubai's budget sends a strong signal that even a non-oil regional economy can, with economic diversification, record healthy revenue flows, economists told the paper on Saturday.

Dubai has no foreign debt, so the surplus would probably go to government reserves. It also would give a push to develop the non-oil sector.

Dubai, a part of the seven-member United Arab Emirates (UAE) federation, is a thriving regional business, services and tourism hub. Most of the UAE's oil production comes from the largest emirate of Abu Dhabi.
  
The UAE federal government in February announced a balanced 2005 budget of $6.18 billion.