Retail and tourism offset construction slowdown in Dubai

Emirates NBD monthly survey finds companies still reluctant to increase staffing levels


The slowdown in Dubai’s construction sector was last month offset to a large extent by growth in the retail and tourism sectors, a survey commissioned by Emirates NBD has found.

The monthly Dubai Economy Tracker Index for June stood at 54.6, with a figure of less than 50 indicating a decline in the market while above 50 indicates expansion.

While the index was only slightly above the 54.5 recorded in May, the survey, which analyses changes in output, new orders and job levels in the non-oil private sector, found various sectors showing different growth levels across the emirate.

“Faster expansion in the wholesale and retail trade and tourism and travel sectors offset the slowdown in the construction sector in June,” said a press statement accompanying the index.

“June posted the lowest level for the employment index since December 2011. Firms surveyed noted that ‘uncertainty about the economic outlook had led to more cautious hiring strategies’,” the report added. It went on to say that companies were looking to boost operational efficiencies before hiring new staff.

News portal Zawya quoted Khatija Haque, head of Middle East and North Africa research at Emirates NBD, as saying that the divergent fortunes of the different sectors could be attributed to Ramadan, which started in early June. The retail sector benefited from increased shopping for the celebrations associated with the month and with the Eid Al Fitr festivities, while slower activity in the construction sector was due to shorter working hours and the midday break during the hottest part of the day, she said.

While new orders were the main driving force for growth in business activity in June, companies are still reluctant to hire new staff to meet the increased workload, the report added.


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