Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector expansion was the strongest in thirteen months in December, underpinned by a rise in output and new orders, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 57.0 in December from 54.7 in November. Any reading above 50 indicates growth in the sector.
Output rose for the fourth month in a row in December and at the quickest pace since November last year.
Business expectations for the next 12 months continued to improve in December as the Covid-19 cases decreased. The roll-out of vaccine against the coronavirus led to rise in optimism that demand will strengthen in the next year.
Firms increased their purchasing activity and stocks of inputs in December. Suppliers’ delivery time lengthened for the eleventh month in a row and backlogs of work increased in December.
On the price front, input prices remained unchanged in December, while average prices charged rose at a slower pace.
“In fact, employment fell slightly as firms diverted spending towards inputs and noted that current capacity still allowed them to clear both new and outstanding work,” David Owen, economist at IHS Markit, said.