The most recent PMI™ survey of Qatari non-hydrocarbon private sector businesses highlighted a further rise in the volume of new business at the beginning of 2019's second quarter. Meanwhile, overall sentiment regarding future output was the third-strongest since the survey began in April 2017, with more than three-quarters of respondents expecting growth at their business units over the next 12 months. As a consequence, while the level of the headline PMI figure ebbed slightly from March's reading, sustained growth in such new work orders supported firms' robust expectations for future total business activity.
The headline Purchasing Managers' Index™ (PMI) for Qatar eased slightly to 48.9 in April, from 50.1 in March. Although the most recent reading continues to register above its average over the final quarter of 2018 (48.6), it is just below the trend observed over the first quarter of 2019 (49.7). The month-on-month dip in the PMI mainly reflects the slower growth rate of new orders and declines in the output as well as employment indicators.
Managing Director, Business Development
Qatar Financial Centre
With new orders rising at a more balanced pace than in March, firms were able to resume backlog clearance with almost one-third of respondents reporting lower backlogs. Simultaneously, the volume of inputs ordered grew, mainly reflecting the manufacturing sector, while input inventories remained broadly stable.
Overall cost pressures faced by Qatari non-energy private sector firms eased in April. The rate of input price inflation slowed from March's 12-month high. This mainly reflected lower staff costs during the month, while raw material prices rose at a slightly weaker rate than in March.
Although input costs continued to rise, firms cut their own prices for goods and services for the fifteenth month running in April. The rate of discounting was in line with those seen throughout the first quarter of 2019.