Saudi non-oil business activity slows
Riyadh, October 3, 2011
Business activity in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector slowed to a record low in September as output and new order growth both hit fresh lows for the series, which was launched in August 2009.
The SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index, which measures activity in the Opec member's manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 54.5 in September from 57.9 in August.
The seasonally adjusted index for the world's top crude exporter is still holding above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
The survey of more than 400 private companies showed new order growth slowing down to its lowest level on record at 60 points in September from 65 points in August.
Output also hit a record low at 56.6 points in September versus 59.8 in August.
Employment in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector fell for the first time in the survey's history, dropping to 49 points in September from 53 points in August.
Saudi Arabia is being affected by weak growth in Europe and the US as well as by a slide in oil prices over the last several months. It has announced multi-billion dollar projects to upgrade its infrastructure and create more jobs for locals, rolling out three consecutive record budgets including one for 2011. - Reuters