Qatar’s Business Optimism: Hydrocarbon sector sees a fall; 53% in non-hydrocarbon sector to increase workforce
Finance and insurance sectors are upbeat, and more than half of the respondents in the non-hydrocarbon sector hope to increase their workforce; 53% in the Q1 of 2014 against the 47% of Q4, 2013. However, in the Hydrocarbon sector the Business Optimism Index (BOI) fell to 18 from 29 in Q4 2013.
It remains higher than a year ago. “Despite the moderation in the BOI index scores, the investment outlook of companies in this sector has improved, with 53% of the respondents planning to invest in business expansion in Q1 2014 compared with 33% in Q4 2013,” according to the report.
The latest Dun & Bradstreet BOI also indicates that hiring was 51 compared with 44 in the previous quarter and 47 in Q1 2013, which means the hiring outlook is on the rise.
“Hiring expectations among non-hydrocarbon businesses in Qatar are the highest they have been for three years,” according to Qatar Financial Centre Authority (QFC Authority), which sponsors the survey. “The index reveals that the construction sector has the most optimistic outlook on employing workers.”
Hospitality sector guarded
Interestingly, the hospitality sector doesn’t see as upbeat as most others. Qatar launched its National Tourism Strategy only a few days ago. The survey says: “While the trading sector expectations are robust, the overall lower optimism is primarily due to the expectations of Hospitality firms. Respondents in the hospitality sector focusing on business tourists expect that fewer conferences and events in Q1 2014 will reduce demand. Nevertheless, 63% of trade and hospitality firms anticipate higher sales in the quarter and 50% plan to invest in business expansion.”
Other highlights of the report include:
- Within the Finance, Real Estate and Business Services sector, finance and insurance firms are the most upbeat about sales and profits.
- About 73% of finance and insurance firms expect an increase in sales and profits during this quarter.
- However, the index for the consolidated non-hydrocarbon sector was at 49 points, lower than the score of 53 recorded in Q1 2013 and at its second highest level in three years.
- 68% of respondents in the non-hydrocarbon sector foresee an increase in sales volumes in Q1 2014, partly stimulated by the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and improving market conditions.
- 47% of companies intend to invest in business expansion in Q1 2014 compared with 35% in the previous quarter.
- Large companies are more optimistic in Q1 2014 than SMEs.