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Wed 9 Sep 2020 10:14 AM

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How Dubai businesses fared in August in the grip of coronavirus

New survey shows Dubai firms cut jobs at a faster rate in August while growth in demand slowed

How Dubai businesses fared in August in the grip of coronavirus

Construction as well as wholesale and retail grew more slowly, while travel and tourism had a contraction in business conditions.

Dubai businesses sustained a recovery from the global pandemic even as they cut jobs at a faster rate and growth in demand slowed, according to a new survey out on Wednesday.

A measure of non-oil private sector activity in the Middle East’s commercial hub dropped last month for the first time since April but remained above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction, according to IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index.

Workforce numbers declined for a sixth month, the report showed.

“Dubai’s non-oil economy saw a disappointing slowdown in growth in August,” said David Owen, economist at IHS Markit. “Business activity rose solidly, but the expansion was markedly weaker than in July, which will dent hopes of a swift recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.”

The IHS Markit Dubai PMI fell to 50.9 in August from 51.7 in July.

Construction as well as wholesale and retail grew more slowly, while travel and tourism had a contraction in business conditions.

New work increased but at a “slightly weaker” pace, decelerating for the first time since April and “suggesting a slowing recovery in the economy”, the report said.

It added that sentiment toward future output deteriorated to the lowest in three months while, to improve new business, companies made the sharpest cuts to selling prices in 10 months.

Dubai is emerging as a relative bright spot in the United Arab Emirates. The country as a whole saw non-oil private sector activity slip into contraction in August for the first time in three months, as job losses accelerated to a record pace.

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