Saudi private sector growth eases in Dec
Riyadh, January 3, 2012
Growth in business activity in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector slowed marginally in December because of slightly weaker expansion of output and new orders, said a survey published on Tuesday.
The SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index, which measures activity in the Opec member's manufacturing and services sectors, slipped to 57.7 in December from a three-month high of 58.1 in November.
But employment rose at its fastest rate since August, helping to keep the overall index well above the 50 mark, which distinguishes overall growth from contraction.
The new order index eased to 65.4 in December from 67.7 in the previous month. The survey of more than 400 private companies showed new orders rising most quickly among larger companies.
Backlogs of work continued to build; although only moderate, the rate of increase was the highest for seven months and above the long-run series average.
Both input and output prices rose in December, but input price inflation was the lowest for over a year while output price inflation was the lowest in the survey's 29-month history.
Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and the Middle East's largest economy, is enjoying strong economic growth, estimated by the finance ministry at 6.8 percent in 2011, because of firm crude oil prices and heavy government spending. - Reuters