Qatar’s non-energy private sector continued to expand at the end of 2021 with companies positive about World Cup-related business opportunities in 2022, according to the CEO of Qatar Financial Centre (QFC) Authority.

The country’s Purchasing Manager’s Index (PMI) report for December, showed rates of expansion and total activity eased to 61.4 from November’s peak, which was 63.1, (anything above 50.0 indicates growth) according to the survey data from the QFC, but were still among the fastest registered.

QFC Authority CEO Yousuf Mohamed Al-Jaida said firms remained positive regarding the outlook for 2022, linked to business opportunities arising from the FIFA World Cup and new regional markets opening up to its products.

He said: “The recent data point to a booming non-energy private sector economy, and a further acceleration in official year-on-year economic growth in the fourth quarter.

“The most recent GDP figures show a four percent annual expansion in the second quarter, when the PMI averaged 52.7. Since then, the PMI has risen sharply to 58.2 in the third quarter and 62.3 in the final quarter.”

December data suggests firms remain bullish on pricing, with charges levied for goods and services rising strongly again, he added.

The report showed that new orders and output were behind the month-on-month dip in the headline figure in December, with both registering three-month lows.

But activity levels of firms remained well above the normal levels of the past five years, with the construction sector registering the strongest increases in both activity and new work in December.

Employment, suppliers’ delivery times and stocks of purchases all rose in December compared with November, with demand for goods and services rising rapidly in December, leading non-energy private sector firms in Qatar to increase their workforces.

Employment also increased for the 15th successive month at the fastest rate since June with gains led by wholesale and retail.

The report said: “Faster growth in workforces was insufficient to prevent another build-up in outstanding business in December, a sign of rising pressure on capacity.

“Backlogs rose for the 15th month running, and at the third-fastest rate on record. The strongest rise in outstanding business was registered at service providers.”

(Reporting by Imogen Lillywhite; editing by Daniel Luiz)

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