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Dubai private sector output increases at slower rate, but business confidence rebounds sharply at end of Q2

UAE. Private sector businesses in Dubai signalled further strong increases in business activity and new orders in June, though the rates of expansion moderated to 27- and 53-month lows, respectively.

Despite softer increases in activity and new work, Dubai private sector companies were increasingly optimistic towards the year-ahead, with the degree of positive sentiment reaching a 19-month high. Furthermore, increased confidence towards the business outlook underpinned the strongest increase in employment since October 2014.

At the sub-sector level, construction companies posted the strongest increases in business activity, new orders and employment. Travel & tourism firms bucked the wider slowdown in June, signalling the fastest rise in activity for three months.

This publication contains the third release of data collected from a new monthly survey of business conditions in the Dubai non-oil private sector. Sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by Markit, the survey provides an early indication of operating conditions in Dubai.

The survey covers the Dubai non-oil private sector economy, with additional sector data published for travel & tourism, wholesale & retail and construction.

Commenting on the Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker, Tim Fox, Chief Economist at Emirates NBD, said: “The June survey points to robust growth in Dubai’s economy in June, with all the key sectors surveyed reporting increased output and new work.  The high level of business optimism bodes well as we head into the second half of this year.”

Key Findings
 Business activity and new orders both expand at slower rates
 Construction sector remains strongest performer of all three key sub-sectors
 Optimism towards the business outlook rises to 19-month high

Business activity and employment
The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Business Activity Index posted at 55.5 in June, down from 57.6 in May, although still above the 50.0 no-change mark. However, it was the lowest index reading seen since March 2013 and was slightly weaker than the series average (57.6).

Sub-sector data suggested that construction companies continued to lead growth, with the respective index posting at 57.9 in June (down from 62.7 in May). Travel & tourism firms meanwhile saw activity growth rebound slightly (index up from 54.1 to 55.3), while wholesale & retail companies recorded a weaker rate of growth (index down from 56.5 to 54.9). Meanwhile, private sector employment in Dubai expanded at the strongest rate in eight months.

Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker™


Sources: Emirates NBD, Markit

Incoming new work and business activity expectations
Dubai private sector companies saw a further steep increase in new business during June. That said, the rate of expansion edged down since May to the slowest recorded since January 2011. According to respondents, greater competition for new work and relatively subdued client demand restricted growth of new orders. Sub-sector data indicated that new business expanded at slower rates at construction and wholesale & retail companies, while growth picked up at travel & tourism firms.

Despite the slowdown in incoming new work, Dubai private sector firms felt strongly optimistic towards 12-month business outlook in June. Furthermore, the degree of positive sentiment was the strongest seen in over a year-and-a-half, with a number of companies attributing optimism to forecasts of improving client demand, planned company expansions and new projects.

Input costs and average prices charged
Latest survey data pointed to a modest rise in total input costs in June. Furthermore, the rate of inflation remained far slower than the survey average, despite picking up for the third month in a row. However, increased competitive pressures led companies to discount their output charges again in June, albeit marginally. Selling prices fell across all three key sub-sectors, with wholesale & retail companies registering the strongest rate of discounting.

Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker: Sector summary

Sources: Emirates NBD, Markit

About the Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker™
The Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker™, produced by Markit, is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to senior executives in approximately 600 private sector companies, which have been carefully selected to accurately represent the true structure of the Dubai economy, including manufacturing, services, construction and retail.

The panel is stratified by Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) group, based on industry contribution to GDP. Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month based on data collected mid-month.
For each of the indicators the ‘Economy Tracker report’ shows the ‘diffusion’ index. This index is the sum of the positive responses plus a half of those responding ‘the same’.

Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change. An index reading above 50 indicates an overall increase in that variable, below 50 an overall decrease.  Markit do not revise underlying survey data after first publication, but seasonal adjustment factors may be revised from time to time as appropriate which will affect the seasonally adjusted data series.

Photo caption: Fox, Chief Economist at Emirates NBD

About Emirates NBD
Emirates NBD is a leading banking Group in the region.  As at 31st March 2015, total assets were AED 367.5 billion, (equivalent to USD 100). The Group has a leading retail banking franchise in the UAE, with more than 215 branches and over 889 ATMs and CDMs in the UAE and overseas.  It is a major player in the UAE corporate and retail banking arena and has strong Islamic banking, Global Markets & Treasury, Investment Banking, Private Banking, Asset Management and Brokerage operations. 

The Group has operations in the UAE, Egypt, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Singapore, the United Kingdom and representative offices in India, China and Indonesia.
The Group is an active participant and supporter of the UAE’s main development initiatives and of the various educational, environmental, cultural, charity and community welfare establishments.

About Markit
Markit is a leading global diversified provider of financial information services. We provide products that enhance transparency, reduce risk and improve operational efficiency. Our customers include banks, hedge funds, asset managers, central banks, regulators, auditors, fund administrators and insurance companies. Founded in 2003, we employ over 3,500 people in 10 countries. Markit shares are listed on Nasdaq under the symbol MRKT.

For more information, please see www.markit.com.

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