Business activity growth in the United Arab Emirates’ non-oil private sector slowed to a five-month low in February but remained strong and above the average for 2014, a corporate survey showed on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which measures the manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 58.1 points last month from 59.3 in January. The 50-point level separates growth from contraction in the survey of 400 firms.
Output growth slowed to 64.3 points from 65.5 points, while new order growth dropped by a much larger margin, to an 18-month low of 63.3 from 67.9. Growth in new export orders hit a four-month low but remained above the average for the series, and respondents reported healthy demand from Egypt and Saudi Arabia.
“The rates of expansion slowed since January. Nonetheless, the outlook for the UAE remains bright, with employment rising at a faster pace and cost pressures easing as a result of lower fuel prices,” said Philip Leake, an economist at data provider Markit.
Employment growth accelerated to a four-month high. Input price growth slowed to a three-month low while output prices fell for the first time in five months, with the index dropping to 49.1 points from 50.3.