The Saudi British Bank (SABB) has published the results of the headline SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for July 2012 — a monthly report issued by the bank and HSBC. It reflects the economic performance of Saudi Arabian nonoil producing private sector companies through the monitoring of a number of variables, including output, orders, prices, stocks and employment.
July data signaled a slight slowdown in the rate of expansion of Saudi Arabia's nonoil private sector economy. Output and new orders both grew at weaker rates, though job creation was maintained at a pace that was unchanged since the previous monthly survey period. Meanwhile, rates of input and output price inflation were the weakest in 2012 so far.
Business conditions facing KSA private sector firms continued to improve during July, as signaled by the seasonally adjusted SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia PMI posting 58.1.
Output levels and new order intakes both increased at slower rates in July. Nevertheless, rates of growth in each case were still marked overall, with businesses continuing to add to their payroll numbers as a result.
New orders placed with KSA private sector businesses from international clients increased again during July. This finding implies that the domestic economy remained a key factor behind ongoing expansion.
July saw backlogs of work decrease for the first time since last September, and for only the second month in a period that stretches back over two-and-a-half years. That said the rate of decline was only marginal overall.
In line with the trends in activity and new business, purchasing activity and pre-production inventory levels at Saudi Arabia nonoil private sector firms both increased at slower rates during July. Meanwhile, data showed that suppliers' delivery times shortened for the twelfth consecutive month, and at a rate that was the steepest since April. Reports from survey respondents suggested that a combination of competition among vendors, buyer demands and improved payment practices had led to faster lead times.
Input price inflation eased in July to the slowest since last December, as both purchase prices and labor costs grew at slower rates. In fact, salaries and wages increased only slightly on average over the month. Output price inflation also eased to a seven-month low in July, and was only modest compared to the historical trend.