Growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector rose to a 13-month high in January, lifted by an acceleration in new orders growth, a survey showed on Tuesday. The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 56.2 in January from 54.5 in December, hitting its highest level since December 2017.
Any level above 50 indicates expansion.
The increase was driven by a surge in new orders and a rebound in output and employment.
The new orders sub-index rose to 62.8 in January from 58.4 a month earlier.
New order growth appeared to be “domestically driven, as export orders remained broadly flat month-on-month”, said Khatija Haque, Head of MENA Research at Emirates NBD.
Part of the growth was probably due to price discounts, as output prices continued to drop for the sixth time in the past seven months, and with the highest rate of decline since February last year.
“Firms were able to reduce selling prices as their purchasing costs also declined in January,” Haque added.
The output sub-index increased slightly, to 58.6 from 58.2.
Employment growth rose slightly to 51 from December’s 20-month low, as 2.5 percent of the firms surveyed reported increased hiring.