Saudi business activity growth slows
Jeddah, August 5, 2012
Growth of business activity in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector fell to its lowest level for seven months in July as new orders and output growth slowed, a survey of over 400 private companies published on Sunday showed.
The SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index, which measures activity in the manufacturing and services sectors, was 58.1 points in July against 59.7 in June. The index is the lowest this year and below the average recorded since data collection started three years ago.
However, the seasonally adjusted index remained well above the 50-point mark separating growth from contraction.
Output growth was slower in July; it was the weakest for nine months at 62.2 against 63.8 in June. New order growth fell to 66.3 in July from 69.2 in June.
But employment growth remained unchanged from the month before at 53.6 points. "The rise in staffing levels was the tenth in successive months, and attributed by panel members to improving economic conditions and higher production requirements."
Analysts in a Reuters poll conducted in July predicted Saudi Arabia's gross domestic product would expand 5.2 percent this year, after 6.8 percent last year. - Reuters