Doha continued to signal strong growth in the non-energy private sector at the start of 2022 with the wholesale and retail sector showing the maximum expansion, according to the Qatar Financial Centre (QFC).
The latest PMI data on Qatar's financial services sector signalled strengthening demand in January.
"The first batch of data for 2022 signals that the non-energy economy continues to expand sharply, with the key indicators for output, new orders and employment all remaining well above their long-run averages. The forthcoming FIFA World Cup continues to be cited as a source of confidence among companies,” said Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive, QFC Authority.
The QFC's PMI showed rates of expansion in output, new orders and backlogs of work all made further corrections from last November's records, but were still among the fastest registered throughout the near five-year history of the survey.
The PMI eased further from November's record high of 63.1 to 57.6 in January, from 61.4 in December. The latest figure was still the seventh-highest in the survey history. In comparison, the PMI has trended at 51.3 since it was first compiled in April 2017.
This comes at a time of reinstated temporary restrictions related to the Omicron variant of Covid-19 throughout Qatar.
Despite this overall easing, employment rose for a record 16th successive month. The latest survey also revealed a slight easing of inflationary pressure in the non-energy economy.
The PMI indices are compiled from survey responses from a panel of around 450 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 headline PMI is a composite single-figure indicator of non-energy private sector performance. It is derived from indicators for new orders, output, employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases.
The private sector non-energy output rose for the 19th consecutive month in January but eased to a five-month low; yet remained among the strongest recorded to date. Growth remained notably strong in the wholesale and retail sector, while contraction was steepest in construction and services where Covid-19 restrictions had an impact.
Highlighting that new business inflows increased further in January; it said the rate of growth eased since the end of 2021, but remained above the strong trend over the current 19-month expansionary sequence.
There were notable slowdowns in the construction and services sectors, but these were partly offset by ongoing strong new business growth in manufacturing and wholesale and retail, it said.
Demand for goods and services remained strong enough to generate rising backlogs at firms. The increase in outstanding business was softer than at the end of 2021, but still the fourth-strongest in the survey history.
Employment in the non-energy private sector continued to rise in January, extending the current series-record sequence of job creation to 16 months. The growth eased since December but remained faster than the long-run trend. Recruitment remained strongest in the wholesale and retail sector.
About the financial sector, it said new business received in the sector rose at a faster pace than in December, and one of the strongest since the series began in 2017. Total activity growth eased but was still the fifth-strongest on record.
Employment at financial services firms rose for the fifth month running, the longest sequence of job creation in over two years, despite a moderation in business expectations at the surveyed firms, it said.
Yousuf Mohamed al-Jaida, chief executive of QFC Authority.