The Saudi British Bank “SABB” has published the results of the headline SABB/HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for August 2014 – a monthly report issued by the bank and HSBC. It reflects the economic performance of Saudi Arabian non-oil producing private sector companies through monitoring a number of variables, including output, orders, prices, stocks and employment.
The expansion of Saudi Arabia’s non-oil producing private sector gained momentum during August, with output, new orders and employment all increasing at stronger rates compared to July. Inventory accumulation also strengthened as companies retained optimism regarding future activity requirements, leading to another marked increase in purchasing activity. Vendors reacted positively to greater requirements for inputs by improving their delivery performance at a marked pace.
The headline index from the report, the seasonally adjusted SABB/HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI™), improved in August to a level of 60.7, from July’s 60.1. That was the best reading since July 2011 and signaled acceleration in growth for the third month in a row.
Driving the SABB/HSBC PMI Index higher were stronger gains in both output and new orders. Latest research data showed that output increased to the sharpest degree since June 2011 while the rise in sales was the strongest for nearly two years. Many companies reported an improvement in underlying demand as market conditions strengthened, both at home and abroad. New export sales increased at the strongest pace since March with demand from companies reported to have strengthened. Good reputations for business helped to build client relationships and support sales growth according to research participants.
As incoming new business continued to increase then pressure on capacity was sustained. Backlogs of work rose for a nineteenth successive month, albeit at a rate that was down on July’s survey record.
Participants in the SABB/HSBC Index study responded to the increase in workloads by recruiting more staff. Net employment increased further and at the best rate since March 2013 according to latest data.
Reflective of some optimism for future activity and business requirements, companies continued to increase purchasing activity during August. Growth was again sharp, and accelerated since the previous research period. With delivery times for inputs continuing to shorten, companies were able to replenish their inventories, with stocks of purchases increasing to the greatest degree since March 2013.
Meanwhile, on the price front, average input costs continued to increase during August, albeit at a slower rate. Purchase price increases weakened to a three-month low, but staffing costs rose at a slightly faster pace. Output charge increases remained modest.
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