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Qatar’s non-oil companies optimistic despite higher costs

Souq Waqif in Doha. Qatar's total business activity increased at the fastest rate in three months in February Imago/photothek via Reuters Connec
Souq Waqif in Doha. Qatar's total business activity increased at the fastest rate in three months in February
  • Activity growth fastest in three months
  • Overall cost pressures muted
  • Output and employment both up

Higher output and strong demand for goods and services helped Qatar’s non-oil private sector to record a faster improvement in business conditions in February than in the previous month, a survey shows.

The latest Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) survey by Qatar Financial Centre and S&P Global registered 51 in February, up from 50.4 in January.  

Overall sentiment for the coming 12 months was the most optimistic since last September. The optimism was attributed to business development plans, new clients and marketing campaigns.

Companies have sought efficiency gains by “destocking”, reducing their inventories for the third month running, after many GCC businesses initially stockpiled goods to counteract Red Sea disruptions, the survey found. 

The headline PMI showed total business activity increased in February at the fastest rate in three months, although growth remained below the 2023 average.

Output and employment increased, while the rate of new business growth was maintained. 

Companies made progress on clearing outstanding work, linking increased demand for goods, services and new orders to new customers and branch openings, the survey said. 

Average input prices rose in February, driven by wages and purchase costs. However, overall cost pressures remained muted. Average input costs rose only modestly, while output prices fell for the fourth consecutive month and at the strongest rate in two years.  

The survey is conducted among 450 private sector companies from Qatar’s manufacturing, construction, wholesale, retail and services sector. 

“The PMI rose further in February, reflecting sharper gains in output and employment in the Qatari non-energy economy,” said Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida, chief executive of the Qatar Financial Centre. 

Although new orders did not rise by as much as in January, the 12-month outlook brightened, and businesses were at their most confident since last September. 

Companies are taking on staff at the fastest rate in five months, and financial services registered the strongest job creation. The sector also posted faster new business expansion in February, bucking the wider trend.

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