Business activity continues to expand strongly in August

5 Sep 2023

PMI by S&P Global

Doha, Qatar: 5 September 2023 – The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) survey data from Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) indicated a further strong expansion in the non-energy private sector in August. Output, new orders, employment and purchasing all rose since July, and the 12-month outlook remained positive. Companies continued to complete outstanding business, and cut their prices charged for goods and services for the fourth successive month.

The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 private sector companies. The panel covers the manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail, and services sectors, and reflects the structure of the non-energy economy according to official national accounts data.


The headline Qatar Financial Centre PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of non-energy private sector performance. It is derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases.


The PMI posted 53.9 in August, little-changed from 54.0 in July, indicating another strong improvement in business conditions. The latest figure remained above the average for the first half of 2023 (52.5) and the long-run trend since 2017 (52.3).


New business increased strongly in August. The rate of expansion eased further from May’s recent peak but remained well above the long-run survey average. There was a notable boost to new orders at manufacturing and financial services businesses during the month.


Total business activity among Qatari non-energy private sector firms rose further in August. Output has risen every month for more than three years, except for a brief correction in January following the conclusion of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™. The latest rate of expansion was the third strongest of 2023 so far.


The 12-month outlook for the non-energy private sector remained optimistic in August. Positive expectations were broad-based by sector with manufacturers being the most optimistic, followed by wholesalers and retailers.


Non-oil private sector employment expanded for the sixth month running in August, the second-longest sequence of continuous job creation in the survey history. Recruitment was again notably strong at service providers.


Purchases also rose for the sixth consecutive month in August. Despite higher demand for inputs, supply chains continued to improve as average lead times fell for the sixteenth successive month, a series-record sequence. Input inventories rose only slightly again, suggesting companies continued to manage stock levels efficiently.


Cost pressures were broadly in line with the long-run average in August, although staff costs rose the most since February. Meanwhile, output prices fell for the fourth month running, albeit only modestly.


QFC Qatar PMI™ vs. GDP


Fastest rise in new business for a year

  • Financial Services New Business Index at 12-month high of 64.1
  • Employment increases at fastest pace since October 2021
  • Total activity growth remains strong


Demand for Qatari financial services accelerated in August, with new business volumes at financial services providers increasing at the fastest pace since August 2022.


Rising demand in the sector prompted firms to boost their workforces at the fastest rate in nearly two years, with the Employment Index posting a 22-month high of 54.0. Total financial services activity increased at a marked rate in line with the six-and-a-half-year series average, and the 12-month outlook remained positive.


August data signalled lower charges levied by finance companies in Qatar, the second instance of discounting in three months. Average input costs rose only marginally.

The PMI for Qatar has held steady over the past six months at a level consistent with solid economic growth. Since March the headline figure has sat in a narrow range of 53.8-55.6, comfortably above the long-run average of 52.3.

Activity, new business, employment and purchasing all rose further in August, while the level of outstanding work continued to fall as capacity expanded.

Recently the services and retail sectors have driven growth, but August data suggested a boost from manufacturing. Meanwhile, financial services continued to outperform the wider economy with new business increasing at the fastest pace in the year. This prompted the sharpest rise in hiring by financial services firms since October 2021.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority

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