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Dubai PMI: Activity slows in January

Khatija Haque - Head of Research & Chief Economist
Published Date: 10 February 2020


The headline Dubai PMI declined to 50.6 in January from 52.3 in December, signalling the softest growth in Dubai’s non-oil private sector since February 2016.  However, the Dubai index remained in expansion territory despite the whole UAE PMI falling below 50.0 in January, suggesting that the weak-spot in the UAE’s non-oil growth story remains Abu Dhabi.

Output and new work in Dubai increased at the slowest rate in nearly four years, despite further price discounting by firms.  Consequently, private sector jobs declined on average in January, with the employment index falling to a series low last seen in February 2019.  Firms were less optimistic than they have been for the last four months, although 60% of panelists still expect their output to be higher in 12 months’ time. 

Dubai PMI and components

Source: IHS Markit, Emirates NBD Research


The sector surveys show the construction sector in contraction at the start of 2020, with output, new work and employment indices all below the neutral 50-level in January.  The wholesale & retail sector index fell to the lowest level since February 2016, on lower output and employment. 

Travel & tourism was the only sector of the three to register an improvement in business condition in January, although the rate of expansion was markedly slower than prior months.  Output and new work growth slowed, while employment declined marginally.  Price discounting in the sector remained relatively steep in January, with the selling price index at 46.4, although there was some relief for firms in the form of lower input costs.    

Dubai PMI: Sector indices

Source: IHS Markit, Emirates NBD Research