Saudi, UAE non-oil business activity at new low
Dubai, May 7, 2013
The growth in non-oil, private sector business activity in Saudi Arabia slowed to a five-month low in April as a strong rise in new orders eased, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index fell to 58 points in April from 58.9 points in March; it was still well above the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction.
Non-oil private sector companies in the world's top crude oil exporter reported a slowdown in new orders growth to 67.3 points in April from 68 in March. Growth in new export orders also eased. Output growth increased, however, to 62 points.
Employment growth slowed sharply to just 50.2 points in April, the lowest level since October 2011, from March's 53.4. This may have been the result of an intensifying crackdown on illegal foreign workers by Saudi authorities; tens of thousands have been deported in recent months.
Overall input price growth eased to 56 points in April from 56.7 in March, which was the highest level since last September, while output price inflation slowed marginally to 50.4 points.
Saudi Arabia's annual consumer inflation held stable at 3.9 per cent between January and March. The central bank said last week that inflationary pressures were set to rise in the second quarter of this year but inflation should stay limited.
A Reuters poll last week forecast Saudi consumer inflation of 4.5 per cent and economic growth of 4.1 per cent in 2013.
Also the business activity growth in the UAE's non-oil private sector eased slightly in April, touching a five-month low, as new orders rose at their slowest pace in a year, said the HSBC survey.