RIYADH: Business conditions in Saudi Arabia improved at the fastest pace in three months as firms increased their headcount for the first time this year.
“The Saudi Arabia PMI rebounded in April to indicate a strengthening of growth across the non-oil economy,” said David Owen, economist at IHS Markit. Non-oil private sector activity grew for an eighth consecutive month and the kingdom’s Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 55.2 last month from 53.3 in March, remaining above the 50-mark separating growth from contraction, report agencies.“Despite a boost to demand, the business outlook weakened from March as fewer respondents projected that output would grow in the coming 12 months,” Mr Owen said. “Current concerns among businesses included a possible further wave of Covid-19 that could exacerbate issues with foreign travel.”
PMI in neighboring United Arab Emirates rose fractionally to 52.7 from 52.6 in March, the highest since July 2019. Job losses continued for a third month, though business confidence gained momentum, with some firms reporting better conditions due to a fast rollout of vaccines for Covid-19.