Saudi Arabia: Non-oil PMI eases to 15-month low in January
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), produced by IHS Markit, ticked down from 53.9 in December to 53.2 in January. Consequently, the index remained above the 50-threshold, but suggests a more moderate improvement in business activity in the non-oil private sector relative to the month prior.
January’s deceleration reflected weaker growth in output, which eased to the lowest level in five months. Respondents noted the Omicron variant weighed on production in January. Moreover, new orders growth also moderated notably in January to the lowest level since October 2020 due to a drop in foreign demand. On the price front, input prices rose marginally, while output prices increased at the fastest pace in four months.
David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit, commented on the latest reading:
“Employment markets remained subdued, with the latest data pointing to the weakest hiring momentum for ten months. Despite staff shortages linked to rising COVID-19 cases, companies were able to reduce their backlogs at the quickest rate since last July.”