Growth in Dubai’s non-oil sector experienced a slowdown in December, according to the Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index.
The index – a composite designed to give an overview of conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – went down to 54.7 in December, from 55.3 the month before. Any reading of over 50 signals growth in the economy.
The wholesale and retail sector – indexed at 54.9 – was found to be Dubai’s best performing sector, followed by construction (53.5). The slowest business sector improvements were found in the travel and tourism sector (51.2).
“The decline in the Dubai Economy Tracker index in December is a little surprising, but appears to be broad-based across all the key sectors,” said Khatija Haque, MENA research head at Emirates NBD. “Nevertheless, a reading of 54.7 still indicates economic growth in December.
“Looking at 2017 as a whole, the survey data suggests that Dubai’s economy grew at a faster rate that both 2015 and 2016,” she added.
According to the Emirates NBD data, job creation in Dubai’s non-oil private sector continued to grow for the tenth consecutive month.
The rate of hiring, however, was at its weakest since June of the previous year. Anecdotal evidence suggests that firs are increasing payroll numbers in order to meet rising output requirements.
Additionally, volumes of new orders were found to have increased in December, although at a seven-month low rate of growth. Overall business activity expectations remained strong, with confidence having improved since November.
Cost burdens were also found to have increased during December for the 22nd consecutive month, although the rate of input rice inflation was at a three-month low and was below the historical average.
Lastly, selling prices in the non-oil private sector rose in December, Emirates NBD said, ending a three-month period of price discounting, and the rate out output charge inflation in the construction and wholesale retail sectors was found to be the highest since Emirates NBD began the tracking system in March 2015.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.