UAE January business improves on new orders
Dubai, February 5, 2012
Growth in business activity in the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector rose slightly in January after slipping to a four-month low in the previous month, a purchasing managers' survey showed on Sunday.
The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers' Index, which measures the performance of the manufacturing and services sectors, increased to 52.4 points last month from 51.7 in December.
The adjusted index remains above the 50-point mark which separates growth from contraction, the survey of 400 private sector firms showed.
'The headline number points to greater stability after a run of declines and it's encouraging to see the uptick in new orders,' said Simon Williams, chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC.
'Employment still looks soft, though, and continued weak output prices despite further gains in costs suggests there continues to be significant spare capacity in the domestic economy.'
UAE firms saw a robust rise in new orders at the start of 2012, reaching 57.5 points in January after a fall to a four-month low of 56.0 in December.
Non-oil private sector companies registered a solid increase in output in January, the data showed: the second-fastest in the last six months.
New export orders accelerated in January for the first time in four months, though survey participants reported that the purchasing activity of European customers remained subdued.
Overall input price pressures eased for the second successive month to the slowest rate recorded in the last 11 months, the survey showed.
A Reuters poll of economists in December estimated gross domestic product grew 3.9 percent in 2011 and would expand 3.1 percent this year. In 2011, UAE inflation remained at 0.9 percent on average, the lowest rate since 1990. – Reuters