DOHA: A majority of the people — citizens and expatriates — in the country are worried about a possible sharp rise in the prices of commodities next year, shows the latest Consumer Confidence Index released by the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics.
The Index also indicates that the financial condition of a significant number of Qatari and expatriate families has remained unchanged over the past one year, but a bigger number of respondents say that they had seen an improvement in their conditions.
The Index for September 2013 is slightly up by overall indications, but it shows confidence level of people is quite low in terms of the prices of consumer goods.
The Index, based on a survey that covered both the citizens and expatriates during three months (July to September) revealed that a high 76.1 percent of respondents believe the prices would go up during the next 12 months (September 2013-September 2014).
Responding to how they feel about the financial conditions of their families compared to 12 months ago, 53.3 percent said their conditions are “better”. A marginal 4.4 percent said their conditions are “poor”. A significant 41.5 percent said their conditions haven’t changed over the past one year. Those who said their financial conditions have improved cited better business opportunities, growing income, better job opportunities for the family members for their “betterment”.
People who said their living conditions are “poor” explained their income has not gone up on par with the growing consumer prices. Monthly expenses have gone up due to the increasing rentals and growing educational costs, they said.
The worst-affected are the fixed-income families. Of the total number of people who said their living conditions are ‘Poor’ compared to the previous year, 66.6 percent blamed the rise in consumer goods prices and 9.5 percent attributed the situation to a hike in rentals.
Hardly 10.4 percent of the respondents felt like the ‘next 12 months’ is the best time to buy a brand-new car; 36.3 percent said it is not the ideal time to go for a new car; 37.7 percent said it all depends on whether they really need a new vehicle.
Asked whether they felt the survey period (July-September) was the best time to purchase household items, 55.2 percent said they didn’t feel the need for buying household goods at that point of time.
Some 22.5 percent felt it was the best time to purchase and 16.7 percent said it was not the ideal time to purchase.
Very few people, nearly 0.8 percent, is confident of prices coming down during the period. While 20 percent believe the prices will remain stable, 3.1 percent said “don’t know”. A considerable number of respondents believe the prices may go up to 5-10 percent next year.
The Index was slightly up by 0.7 percent in September 2013 compared to August 2013. The three months showed a gradual growth in the confidence level of the people, although they were less confident of the coming months. In terms of expected inflation rate, the respondents are more worried about a possible rise in the rentals and education expenses. Education and rentals are going to be a big burden, they said.