Saudi Arabia: Non-oil business activity declines slightly in March
April 4, 2017
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by IHS Markit fell from February’s over one-and-a-half-year high of 57.0 to 56.4 in March. Despite the drop, the index remains comfortably above the 50-threshold that indicates expansion in business activity in the non-oil producing private sector.
March’s print reflected that growth in new business and output moderated marginally compared to the previous month’s result. New business was mainly supported by domestic demand as new export orders eased to a four-month low. Tim Fox, Head of Research and Chief Economist at Emirates NBD, added that, “Saudi Arabia's non-oil economy appears to be holding up well amidst ongoing reductions in oil production. Unlike previous periods of expansion however, gains in output and new orders are not being matched by new job growth, while competitive pressures appear to be keeping a lid on the prices firms are able to charge to customers.”