Data from the Qatar Financial Center Purchasing Managers’ Index study for the month of February showed a recovery in commercial activity due to an improvement in the level of demand.
The study indicated that this contributed to an increase in the expectations of Qatari companies for commercial activity for the next twelve months to its highest level since September 2019. The purchasing managers’ indicators for Qatar are compiled from the responses to the survey, received from a committee of about 450 companies from the private sector, as this committee covers Several areas include manufacturing, construction, retail and wholesale as well as services, and they also reflect the structure of the non-energy economy, according to official national accounts data. The QFC Core Purchasing Managers’ Index is a single-digit composite indicator of the performance of non-energy private sector companies in Qatar. It is calculated on the basis of indicators of new orders, production, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and purchase inventory. The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) recorded a significant increase from 45.7 points in January to 51.9 points in February, indicating a recovery in overall business activity after its decline at the beginning of 2023 and during the period following the conclusion of the FIFA,Football,Soccer,Football,Soccer World Cup Qatar 2022. The rise in the main reading of the PMI was on On a monthly basis, by 6.2 points, the second largest increase recorded since the start of the study in April 2017 and the highest increase achieved after the end of the (Covid-19) pandemic, as the month of July 2020 witnessed the largest increase recorded by the PMI, amounting to 17.7 points. The study attributed the rise in the PMI to the continuous growth in the production and new orders indices, which rose at rates similar to their long-term average rates, after the declines recorded in January 2023. There was also a remarkable recovery in the level of demand in the wholesale and retail trade sector. The data related to the future outlook indicated an improvement in the expectations of private sector companies not related to energy in Qatar in February 2023. The future production index rose for the seventh consecutive month to its highest level in 41 months at 82.7 points, indicating a strong optimism outlook. So far, the index has increased by a total of 21 points in 2023, which represents the highest rise it has achieved in two months since the study began. Confidence also improved in all four major sectors in February, especially in the manufacturing sector. The transmitted data provided by the study participants indicated the start of new projects and successful marketing campaigns. February data showed increasing pressures from wages, with the employee cost index rising to its highest level in 17 months. The participants in the study attributed the increase in salaries to hiring new employees and improving the benefits provided to existing employees. The employment index, which tracks the number of current employees, witnessed only a slight change from the level of January 2023, which was the highest in six months. Total cost pressures have eased slightly since January 2023, reflecting lower purchase prices. Meanwhile, non-energy Qatari private sector companies raised the prices of their goods and services for the ninth time in ten months. In February, Qatari companies continued to complete the backlog of work, despite the rise in the backlog of unfinished business index to its highest level in five months, indicating the return of some pressure on the companies’ production capacity due to the high demand.
As for the financial services sector in Qatar, growth continued at a remarkable rate last February due to the increase in the volume of new business to its highest level since August 2022. Activity in the financial services sector increased for the twentieth month in a row, at a rapid pace, while expectations for future activity declined slightly. In February, compared to the last high recorded in January 2023. New business grew for the 33rd consecutive month in February, at the fastest rate since August 2022. Meanwhile, financial services companies continued to increase their numbers of employees at a strong rate. February data indicated a record rise in the prices of financial services, with the fees and services price index rising to 62.8 points. On the other hand, the production inputs price index fell to 50.2 points, pointing to the absence of an increase in average costs. Commenting on the study, Mr. Youssef Mohamed Al-Jaida, CEO of the Qatar Financial Center Authority, said that the recent set of results indicated that commercial activity in private sector companies not related to energy in Qatar returned to its normal levels, after it witnessed a slowdown at the beginning of the year. The PMI recorded it at 51.9 in February, with the study’s long-term average of 52.2. He explained that the main indicators of production and new orders returned to rise at a strong pace, with improved demand in all four main sectors under study. Likewise, the future production index rose again to its highest level in 41 months at 82.7 points, which is much higher than the average rate of the study over the long term. The long one, amounting to 64.6 points. Qatari companies also revealed the start of new projects and successful marketing campaigns, which boosted confidence in the expectations of future activity. He pointed out that the financial services sector witnessed remarkable growth and expansion in February 2023, with large inflows of new business, growth in activity, and a strong increase in the number of employees. In addition, financial services companies raised the prices of their services at a record pace, indicating their ability to charge higher prices on its services.