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New index to track Dubai economy

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Growth in Dubai’s non-oil sector slipped during April, according to a new index set up to gauge the emirate’s economic performance.

The ‘Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker’, officially launched by the bank yesterday, will cover some 600 private sector firms with the aim of giving a “timely and accurate” indicator of Dubai’s non-oil sector’s economic efforts on a monthly basis.

The tracker, compiled by Markit, is based on the Purchasing Managers’ Index, used in many different countries.

Luke Thompson, of Markit, said “small, medium and large” private sector companies would all be looked at to gauge Dubai’s economic performance.

This would lead to an “accurate representation of the precise make-up of Dubai’s non-oil sector economy”.

The Emirates NBD Dubai Business Activity Index, part of the tracker, which records both business activity and employment, posted 57.2 in April, down from 60.6 in March.

This was “still well above the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction”, the Emirates NBD report stated.

Tim Fox, chief economist and head of research at Emirates NBD, insisted: “There has been a slight dip but the measures are quite strong on a relative basis with other global surveys, showing output on a very positive territory for Dubai in the first few months of this year. And that comes against a backdrop of a fall in oil prices over the past year, which I think is testimony to the underlying strength of Dubai’s economy”.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the chairman of Emirates NBD, said: “Revenues from the non-oil sector continue to grow and this new report will provide a useful window on emergent trends and opportunities as Dubai continues on its path to grow as a global hub for business, trade, real estate and tourism”.

The Real Estate Tracker, which will survey 70 real estate agents and about 600 households in Dubai on a bi-monthly basis, suggested “a modest overall strengthening” in the property market.

Real estate agents reported “slightly higher property values and rising new buyer enquiries”, the tracker claimed.

Transaction volumes were “broadly stable” over the past three months, with survey data claiming that greater sales of apartments were “broadly offset” by a “softer trend for villas”.


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