Stock - UAE Economy
Order backlogs are back to their highest levels seen before March 2020, and that can only mean good news for businesses. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE’s private sector seems to have felt the Expo boost a full month before the event’s opening on October 1.

While there was only a marginal improvement in jobs created during September, businesses were recording sharp increases in their order backlogs at the “fastest rate since March 2020”, i.e., in the period before the pandemic broke out. A continued recovery in footfall and contracts related to Expo 2020 has contributed to the upturn. Export orders too have returned after falling each month since May.

Business expectations too have improved for the "first time in three months", with businesses expecting more pick-up in activity through the Expo months as well as from a loosening of pandemic measures on global travel.

When it comes to new jobs, there was a dip during September - but this should be seen in the context of August recording the best showing on the employment front in 43 months. But there continues to be one constant worry and that's on the raw material costs, which continued to exert upward pressure in September.

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"Firms expect the Expo 2020 to add to sales volumes in the coming months, supporting a pick-up in business expectations for the first time since June," said David Owen, Economist at the UK-based consultancy IHS Markit, which tracks global private sector activity based on the Purchasing Managers Index (PMI).

The UAE had a PMI reading of 53.3 for September, signalling an economy that “appears in good shape”. According to IHS Markit, the PMI reading represents a dip from the 53.8 recorded for August, but above the readings seen in the 23 months leading up to July. The index is “firmly in growth territory, having exceeded the 50.0 mark in each of the latest 10 months”.

Firms expect the Expo 2020 to add to sales volumes in the coming months, supporting a pick-up in
business expectations for the first time since June

- David Owen at IHS Markit