Emirates NBD’s Dubai Economy Tracker Index fell slightly in October, but still remained above the critical 50.0 mark.
The index, a measure of sentiment in the non-oil private sector, stood at 52.5 last month, down from 54.4 in September, and the lowest figure since March 2016.
Nevertheless, this is the 32nd month in a row that it has remained above 50.
A reading below 50.0 indicates that the non-oil private sector economy is generally declining; above 50.0, that it is generally expanding. A reading of 50.0 signals no change.
Travel & tourism appeared to be the main sector pulling the index down in October, registering 49.6, with wholesale & retail at 53.7 and construction at 55.5.
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Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD, said: “While still in expansion territory, the headline index points to the slowest rate of growth in the private sector in more than two and half years. The travel & tourism sector weighed on the overall index, as it contracted marginally last month.”
Output and new orders across the private sector increased in October, albeit at slower rates, and more firms reported a decline in headcount than those reporting an increase. Input costs rose at a slightly faster rate than in September, while selling prices declined on average.
“Despite the soft survey data, firms in Dubai were the most optimistic than they have been since at least 2012, with nearly 77% of respondents expecting their output to be higher in a year’s time,” said Haque.