Business activity growth levels in Saudi Arabia's private sector remained strong in May, a new purchasing managers' survey showed on Monday.
The Saudi British Bank (SABB) HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which measures the performance of the kingdom's manufacturing and services sectors, was unchanged at 60.4 last month.
Demand for Saudi Arabian private sector goods and services were strong in May, with new orders rising at the fastest rate for almost a year.
Output and employment levels were increased over the month as a result, although rates of growth in each case were slightly slower than in April.
At the same time, cost pressures remained strong as demand pressures filtered through into both the materials and labour markets.
May also saw new business placed at Saudi Arabian non-oil private sector firms increase at the fastest rate in 11 months.
Data showed that while international sales continued to increase, the domestic market remained the predominant factor driving growth.
In line with a rise in new orders, private sector companies in the Gulf kingdom expanded production levels and recruited additional staff during May.
In both cases, however, growth was slightly weaker than during the previous month.
Despite a rise in staffing capacities, backlogs of work increased for the eighth month in a row during May. The rate of growth was broadly unchanged since April, and faster than the series average.
Slowing only slightly on April's series-record high, cost inflation facing Saudi Arabian non-oil private sector firms remained sharp in May, the survey showed.
With demand remaining strong, firms were able to pass on at least part of the burden of higher costs to clients as charge inflation rose to the strongest for 11 months.
The PMI reflects the economic performance of Saudi Arabian non-oil producing private sector companies through the monitoring of a number of variables, including output, orders, prices, stocks and employment.
By Arabian Business