Doha witnessed a "record" improvement in operating conditions in the non-energy economy this September with output, new orders and purchasing activity rising at the second-fastest rates on record, according to the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).
The country's PMI (purchasing managers' index) has hit an all-time record high in September with manufacturing registering the strongest performance, followed by services, wholesale and retail, and construction, respectively, according to the latest survey, which also indicated the strongest 12-month outlook for nearly a year, amidst growing wage pressures and other immediate capacity concerns.
"The recent strength in the PMI strongly indicates that overall economic growth will rebound in the second and third quarters, showing that Qatar’s economy is on the path to strong recovery after facing a relatively challenging period brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic," said Sheikha Alanoud bint Hamad al-Thani, deputy chief executive and chief business officer, QFC Authority.
The Qatar PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of nearly 400 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 PMI rose for the fourth month running to 60.6 in September, from 58.2 in August. The latest figure signalled the strongest overall improvement in operating conditions since the survey began in April 2017, surpassing the previous record high of 59.8 in July 2020. Business conditions have improved for 15 successive months, the longest sequence in the survey’s history.
On a quarterly basis, the PMI averaged 58.2 in the third quarter, the highest on record. The previous quarterly peak was 56.2 in the third quarter of 2020 as the economy rebounded from lockdown.
The headline PMI was positively influenced by four of its five components in September. The 2.4-point upward movement in the PMI since July mainly reflected the new orders (+1.3) and output (+1.1) components, followed by employment (+0.2) and stocks of purchases (+0.2).
The suppliers' delivery times component weighed slightly on the headline figure (-0.3) in the latest period.
New business growth accelerated for an unprecedented fourth successive month in September, with the overall pace of expansion almost matching the record high set in July 2020 when the economy rebounded with the unlocking of coronavirus restrictions. New business rose particularly strongly at services firms, followed by manufacturing.
A similar trend was evident for total business activity, growth of which quickened for the fourth month running to the second strongest on record. Meanwhile, the volume of outstanding business rose for the 12th straight month, and at one of the fastest rates indicated by the survey to date.
This occurred despite investment in workforces, with non-energy employment rising at one of the fastest rates in the survey history in September, and the strongest wage inflation since February 2019.
Qatari firms were increasingly confident of growth over the next 12 months. Business expectations were the highest since October 2020.