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Saudi Arabia’s exports increased in August

Saudi Arabia’s exports increased in August

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector has had its strongest month since April as a result of an uptick in exports. However, last month remains below the long-run average, according to a purchasing managers’ index (PMI) survey. The headline seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia PMI, produced in conjunction with by IHS Markit, said activity has picked up to 55.8 last month from 55.7 in July, although the average for August is 58.1. “Saudi Arabia’s non-oil sectors expanded at a solid rate in August, with the headline PMI broadly unchanged from July,” said Khatija Haque, the head of Mena Research at Emirates NBD. “The recovery in export orders helped boost overall new order growth to the fastest rate in four months in August, while output also showed a sharp rise last month.”   Companies saw a rebound in new export orders, growing for the second time in five months. The new markets were linked to stronger international demand for the kingdom’s products and services, the report said. “More projects and stronger underlying demand were cited by panellists as the key factors behind greater inflows of new business.”

However, companies also cited pressure to increase costs while facing limitations from a more competitive landscape. These pressures signalled the lowest job creation rate since April. The report added: “Although the level of positive sentiment dipped to the lowest since October 2016, firms retained positive expectations over the 12-month outlook for output. Optimism was rooted in forecasts of further improvements in market demand.”