Saudi Business Activity Growth Slows In May

While output growth continued to accelerate, growth in new orders dropped sharply.

Growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil business activity slowed in May as new orders rose at their most sluggish pace since September 2011, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers Index slipped to 57 points last month from 58.5 points in April, though it remained well above the 50-point mark separating expansion from contraction.

While output growth continued to accelerate, to 62.3 points in May from 61 points in April, growth in new orders dropped sharply to 63.6 points from 67.6 points. The rise in export orders also slowed considerably, to 54.6 points.

Saudi companies surveyed for the poll said they hired more staff in May, albeit at a marginal rate of 50.9 points. The rise in average input costs slowed to 51.7 points, the lowest level registered since the survey was launched in August 2009; output prices actually fell, for the first time since August 2013.