Fastest rise in new business since July 2022

4 Apr 2023

PMI by S&P Global

Doha, Qatar: 4 April 2023 – The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™) survey data from Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) for March indicated a further strengthening in business conditions as demand gained momentum. This led to faster growth of overall activity, a boost to employment and a fortification of firms' expectations for the next 12 months.

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 rose for the fourth time in five months to 53.8 in March, from 51.9 in February, indicating the strongest improvement in business conditions since July 2022. The month-on-month rise in the headline figure was less pronounced than in January which, at 6.2 points, was the second largest observed since the series began in April 2017. The latest figure was still above the long-run trend of 52.2.

The main boosts to the headline PMI were faster growth in output and new business, which both increased at rates stronger than their long-run averages following renewed uplifts in January. Firms reported new customers, tourism, investments and successful marketing. The wholesale & retail and services sectors registered the strongest growth rates for activity and new orders. The PMI was also lifted by the employment index, which rose to an eight-month high.

The 12-month outlook for the non-energy private sector remained strongly positive. The Future Output Index eased from February's 41-month high but the average for the first quarter of 2023 was 77.0, well above the long-run trend of 64.7 and the best quarterly performance since the third quarter of 2019. By sector, confidence in March was strongest among service providers, followed by manufacturers.

March data indicated a further increase in average wages and salaries, although the Staff Costs Index eased from February's 17-month high. The Employment Index, tracking the overall level of staffing, rose to an eight-month high, signalling a boost to workforce numbers.

Overall cost pressures eased further since the start of the year and were modest, reflecting only a fractional rise in purchase prices. Meanwhile, firms cut charges for goods and services for the second time in three months, albeit marginally.

Companies reduced their levels of outstanding business for the eighth month running in March, despite the faster rise in new work. This reflected the rise in staffing but also suggested firms had made productivity improvements.


QFC Qatar PMI™ vs. GDP


Financial services activity continues to rise sharply

  • Financial Services Business Activity Index at 60.5
  • New business growth and confidence levels remain high
  • Slower increase in charges following February's record inflation

The financial services sector in Qatar continued to expand at a marked rate in March as the volume of new business increased sharply and for the thirty-fourth consecutive month. Overall financial services activity increased for the twenty-first successive month, and at a rapid pace, while expectations eased further from January's recent peak but remained elevated.

New business grew for the thirty-fourth consecutive month in March, and the rate of expansion remained strong despite easing to a two-month low. Employment was fractionally lower than in February. March data indicated another strong increase in charges levied by financial services firms, albeit one down on February's record rate of inflation. Input costs were again little changed over the month.

“The financial services sector continued to be a key spur to overall growth in March, with the rates of expansion in activity and new business remaining stronger than the all-sector trends, and the financial services business activity index reaching 60.5.”
"Qatar's non-energy private sector accelerated at the end of the first quarter, with sharper increases in output and new business. Both sub-indices were tracking above their long-run trend levels over six years of data collection. The headline PMI was at an eight-month high, also boosted by the employment component.
"Looking forward, the Future Output Index eased from February's 41-month high of 82.7 but has averaged 77.0 over the first quarter as a whole, the strongest quarterly outlook since the third quarter of 2019.
Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida

Chief Executive Officer, QFC Authority

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