Qatari economy will largely withstand the global economic crisis and will witness increased business activity, according to a study by advisory company Dun and Bradstreet South Asia Middle East (D&B).
In a survey, D&B said 53 per cent of the business units in Qatar expect an increase in volume of sales and net profits.
"The sentiments in the region have been hurt by the spillover effects of global financial crisis.
"However, Qatari economy is expected to do fairly well in these testing times with ample government support to minimise the impact of global economic slowdown," the advisory company said in a communiqué.
D&B has launched the index in association with the Qatar Financial Centre and Al Khaliji Commercial Bank.
The survey for preparing the index was conducted in November 2008.
Sections in Qatar's business circles are apprehensive about the impacts of the crisis, the communiqué said.
"The vast majority of respondents are confident that Qatar can overcome any negative effects from the United States and European financial crisis, but businessmen are becoming more cautious.
"It is noticeable that most businesses say their sales prices will remain flat, rather than increase and more businesses have put their investment and recruitment plans on temporary hold until the situation becomes clearer.
"The results show the Qatar Government and businessmen alike are taking a very balanced and mature approach to the recent market disturbances," said David Proctor, CEO of Al Khaliji. The report highlighted that 56 per cent of the business units expect no change in their selling prices over the next quarter and another 18 per cent expect their selling prices to decrease.
Qatar's real estate sector, which has been the cause of double-digit inflation, is expected to "cool off" due to the slowdown, it said.
"Real estate prices are likely to ease off with 56 per cent of the units in building, construction and real estate sector expecting no change in their selling prices," the communiqué said.
"The cooling-off of the commodity prices in the global markets and directed policy measures have contributed in curbing the current inflationary levels.
"The survey indicates that there are definite signs of continued downward pressures on inflationary levels in the next quarter," said Rajni Thakur, a senior economist with D&B.
Only 37 per cent of the respondents in the non-hydrocarbon sector have shown concern of the impact as against 63 per cent of companies who feel that the crisis is not going to affect their business.
The trade, transport and hotel sector seemed most resilient in Qatar with 71 per cent of respondents from the sector stating that the crisis would not impact their business.
Sixty-eight per cent of the respondents from agriculture, manufacturing, water and electricity sector had the same response.
The figure stood at 61 per cent for finance, insurance and business services.
Qatar's real estate sector was the least optimistic with 51 per cent of the respondents stating that the crisis would not impact their business.
"This was expected to be a crucial survey given continuing economic turmoil around the world, which is impacting some countries in the Gulf," said Shashank Srivastava, Director of Strategy and Planning at the QFC Authority.