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Qatar World Cup fuels spike in private sector optimism

Qatar business Reuters/Matthew Childs
Qatar sees post-World Cup business opportunities and an expected permanent boost to tourism

Optimism among non-oil private sector companies in Qatar has risen to a 29-month high following the impact of the Fifa World Cup on the country’s economy.

Post-tournament business opportunities and an expected permanent boost to tourism were cited by companies polled in the latest purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey data from Qatar Financial Centre.

The survey highlighted further growth of business activity in December, with wholesale, retail and service providers benefiting the most.

These sectors also drove a record overall increase in prices charged for goods and services last month while the 12-month outlook for business activity strengthened further to the highest since July 2020.

Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO, QFC Authority, said: “The Fifa World Cup Qatar 2022 made its mark on the Qatari economy in December, with another rapid increase in business activity fuelled by the retail and services sectors. 

“The December data rounds off a stellar 2022 with the output index and headline PMI trending at 69 and 57.7 respectively, the highest annual averages since the survey began in 2017.”

He added: “The tournament’s legacy is also looking secure, with widespread reports from companies of post-competition business opportunities and an expected permanent boost to tourism.”

The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 private sector companies. 

The PMI rose for the second month running from 48.8 in November to 49.6 in December, pointing to a near-stabilisation in overall non-energy private sector business conditions at the end of 2022. 

The output index posted 62.8 on the back of surging retail trade and services but this was countered by a construction-driven pause in new work, as well as improving supply chains. 

December data also indicated a further slight fall in average input prices but a record rate of charge inflation, pointing to improving profitability. Charges rose especially sharply in the wholesale and retail and services sectors, linked to tourism demand from the World Cup tournament. 

Efforts to control costs were also in evidence as workforces and purchasing were trimmed further.