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Saudi non-oil activity surges in March

Riyadh, April 3, 2013

Saudi Arabia’s non-oil producing private sector companies have reported solid growth in their output in March for the second successive month boosted by increased new business, said a report.

The March data signalled a further rise in employment levels at non-oil producing private sector companies in Saudi Arabia. Companies commonly mentioned increased new business as the main driver behind the latest hiring of staff, stated SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index.

This monthly report issued by SABB and HSBC reflects the economic performance of the Saudi Arabian non-oil producing private sector companies through the monitoring of a number of variables, including output, orders, prices, stocks and employment.

The latest survey data pointed to a further solid improvement in overall business conditions at non-oil producing private sector companies in Saudi Arabia.

The seasonally adjusted headline PMI posted 58.9 in March, up slightly from February’s 58.5. Operating conditions have improved in every month since data collection began in August 2009, the report stated.

According to panelists, the rise in order book volumes was mainly driven by on-going improving economic and political conditions.

New work grew at the sharpest rate in five months, with more than half of respondents indicating a rise in incoming business. New export business also increased at a marked rate, it added.

Work-in-hand increased for the second month running in March, but the rate of backlog accumulation remained modest. Around 11 per cent of companies recorded an increase in outstanding business and 10 per cent reported a fall, said the SABB PMI.

The vendor performance improved further during the latest survey period, and at a sharper rate than in February. According to anecdotal evidence, the shortening in average lead times was partly driven by improved payments and, in some cases, a change of suppliers.

March data signalled a further rise in employment levels at non-oil producing private sector companies in Saudi Arabia. Companies commonly mentioned increased new business as the main driver behind the latest hiring of staff.

Overall input prices increased at the sharpest rate in six months during March. An increase in purchase prices and staff costs contributed to the latest rise in overall input prices, said the SABB report.

In response to higher input costs, non-oil producing private sector companies in Saudi Arabia raised their output charges in March, it stated.

Driven by higher new business, purchasing activity increased at the sharpest rate in six months during March, the report stated. Almost one-in-three respondents reported an increase in buying, while only 5 per cent indicated a fall.

Meanwhile, inventory levels also increased in Saudi’s non oil-producing private sector. There was some anecdotal evidence that the rise was driven by greater in work-in-hand and increased new business.-TradeArabia News Service




Tags: Saudi Arabia | business | growth | PMI |

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