Dubai: Dubai’s construction sector activity took a dip while there were marginal gains for the wholesale and retail industry in August, according to the latest tracker of private businesses. On the whole, the overall flow of new business orders were at their “slowest pace since April”.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index was at 55.2 in August, up from 54.9 in July.

“Output rose at a faster rate than in July, driven by ongoing projects, but new order growth slowed modestly last month,” said Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD. “The employment index eased to 50.4 in August, only slightly above the “no change” level.”

 In fact, 94 per cent of firms surveyed said they had no changes in staffing levels in August. On the cost of production, “Average selling prices declined a fraction with some firms citing promotional activity,” said Haque. 

“The selling price index has been in contraction territory for the last four months running, highlighting the lack of pricing power of firms and the competitive market environment.

“The average Dubai Economic Tracker year-to-date is 55.6, only slightly lower than the same period last year (56.5).  This suggests to us that Dubai’s economy is probably growing a similar rate to 2017, or a touch slower.

“Preliminary estimates from the Dubai Statistics Centre put last year’s GDP growth at 2.8 per cent, about half a percentage point slower than our forecast for 2018.”