Dubai's non-oil private economy remains 'robust' as output and new orders rise

S&P Global purchasing managers' index shows modest increases in staffing and inventories

The Dubai skyline. Companies in the emirate reported a solid upturn in new business volumes in November. AFP
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Business activity in Dubai's non-oil private sector economy remained “robust” in November as output levels continued to expand midway through the fourth quarter.

The emirate's seasonally adjusted S&P Global purchasing managers' index reading in November slipped to 54.9, from 56 in October, but remained well above the neutral 50 mark separating expansion from contraction.

While the headline reading was softer, the index was indicative of a robust improvement in the health of the sector, according to the survey.

Business activity mainly rose due to a further increase in new work, with some panellists also citing progress on current contracts and the positive impact of sports events such as the Fifa World Cup.

Dubai companies indicated a solid upturn in new business volumes in November, often highlighting an improvement in market conditions and new clients.

“The Dubai non-oil economy enjoyed another robust expansion in November,” said David Owen, an economist at S&P Global Market Intelligence.

“Inflationary pressures have clearly softened from earlier in the year, with firms commenting that higher fuel prices were largely offset by falling supplier charges for raw materials.”

The emirate's economy expanded by 4.6 per cent on annual basis in the first nine months of this year, with wholesale and retail trade accounting for 24.1 per cent of its gross domestic product, according to the latest data from the Dubai Statistics Centre.

The Dubai economy grew 6.2 per cent in 2021 and expanded 5.9 per cent in the first three months of this year as its tourism and retail sectors reported a sharp Expo 2020-driven boost, according to government data.

An increase in new orders and activity led companies to build additional input stocks, with inventories growing for the fourth month in succession, according to the S&P Global PMI survey.

Businesses also added to their headcounts in November, but at a slightly more moderate pace than in the previous month that was near a three-year high.

The rate of jobs growth was still one of the strongest since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the survey said.

Companies reduced their output prices for the fourth month in a row to attract new clients but the rate of discounting eased from October.

Business confidence towards future output was positive in November and crept higher due to stronger expectations in the wholesale and retail category.

Firms often cited that they expect strengthening market conditions to boost activity in the months ahead. That said, overall sentiment remained much weaker than the long-run trend.

Dubai hosted 10.12 million international visitors from January to September, compared with 3.85 million visitors during the same period of last year, an annual growth of 163 per cent.

The emirate's property sales transactions hit their highest for the month of November since 2011 amid a continued upswing in the market this year, according to Property Finder.

Updated: December 13, 2022, 5:31 AM