Saudi output growth dips to weakest level in 10 months

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  • August PMI data from IHS Markit survey data showed a fall to 54.1 in August
  • The non-oil sector weakened in August with output expansion at its weakest in 10 months

Saudi Arabia’s output growth dipped to the weakest level for ten months amid a slowdown in new business gains.

August PMI data from IHS Markit survey data showed a fall to 54.1 in August down from July’s 55.8.

Despite the fall, the reading suggested an improvement in the non-oil sector, albeit a slower growth as the subdued recovery was put down in part to increases in Covid-19 cases globally dampening foreign demand.

The knock-on effects of the softer recovery saw business confidence and hiring growth remain muted with SA firms reporting a low level of hiring activity in August.

David Owens, Economist at IHS Markit, said: “The non-oil economy went slightly off the boil in August, as output growth slipped to the weakest level for ten months amid a slowdown in new business gains. Whilst domestic orders remained strong and firms saw an upturn in tourist numbers, many businesses continued to find market conditions challenging amid the pandemic.”

He added that “the unpredictability of the pandemic meant that downside risks remained high,” which could keep a lid on firms’ future activities

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