Job levels rise in Saudi nonoil private sector

Updated 03 July 2013

Job levels rise in Saudi nonoil private sector

Employment levels rose further last month in Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector, according to a monthly report issued by the Saudi British Bank (SABB) and HSBC.
SABB has published the results of the headline SABB/HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for June 2013.
It reflects the economic performance of the Saudi Arabian nonoil producing private sector companies through the monitoring of a number of variables, including output, orders, prices, stocks and employment.
Posting 56.6 in June, the headline PMI signaled that overall operating conditions in Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector economy continued to improve.
The pace of improvement, however, slowed slightly in recent times.
June data indicated a further slowing of activity growth in Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector, says a bank statement.
While output increased markedly, the rate of expansion experienced a slight weakness.
Companies linked weaker growth to a slowdown in market demand, according to the report.
The rate of expansion was sharp overall, with 37 percent of panelists surveyed indicating an increase in order book volumes.
Client demand from foreign markets also strengthened and some panelists linked this to increased tourism activities.
Meanwhile, employment levels rose further, albeit only slightly.
There was some anecdotal evidence that the latest hiring of workers was driven by increased new business.
Overall input costs in Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector increased in June, and at a slightly faster pace than in May.
The report also indicated that general increasing costs and increased market demand accounted for much of the rise in purchase prices.
Selling prices in Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector were unchanged from the previous survey period in June.
While some companies raised their charges in response to increased input costs, others left output charges unchanged to maintain competitiveness.
Levels of outstanding work increased in June, as companies indicated higher new business.
The rate of expansion accelerated for a fourth month running, but was modest overall.
Exactly 11 percent of panelists surveyed recorded increased work-in-hand, and 7 percent reported a decline.
Meanwhile, suppliers’ delivery times improved, but at the slowest pace since February.
Saudi Arabia’s nonoil producing private sector companies reported a further rise in purchasing activity in June.
Increased new business was mentioned by many panelists to have contributed to the rise in buying. Concurrently, pre-production inventories increased, with 13 percent of companies indicating an accumulation of stocks of purchases.
According to anecdotal evidence, the latest rise was in response to higher business volumes.

Saudi Arabia, Russia and China give EU trade reforms thumbs down at WTO

Updated 11 min 41 sec ago

Saudi Arabia, Russia and China give EU trade reforms thumbs down at WTO

  • China is suing US and EU at WTO
  • Kingdom warns new rules are concerning

The EU’s new rules against countries dumping cheap goods on its market got a rough ride at a World Trade Organization meeting, where China, Russia and Saudi Arabia led a chorus of disapproval, a trade official said on Thursday.

The EU, which is in a major dispute with China about the fairness of Chinese pricing, introduced rules last December that allow it to take into account “significant distortions” in prices caused by government intervention.

A Chinese trade official told the WTO’s anti-dumping committee that Beijing had deep concerns about the new methodology, saying it would damage the WTO’s anti-dumping system and increase uncertainty for exporters, an official who attended the meeting said.

China argued that the concept of “significant distortion” did not exist under WTO rules, and the EU should base its dumping investigations on domestic prices in countries of origin, such as China.

The EU reformed its rules in the hope they would allow it to keep shielding its markets from cheap Chinese imports while fending off a Chinese legal challenge at the WTO.
China said that when it joined the WTO in 2001, the other member countries agreed that after 15 years they would treat it as a market economy, taking its prices at face value.

But the US and the EU have refused, saying China still subsidises some industries, such as steel and aluminum, which have massive overcapacity and spew vast supplies onto the world market, making it impossible for others to compete.

China is suing both the US and the EU at the WTO to try to force them to change their rules.

Legal experts say the dispute is one of the most important in the 23-year history of the WTO, because it pits the major trading blocs against each other with fundamentally opposing views of how the global trade rules should work.

In the WTO committee meeting, Saudi Arabia said the new rules were very concerning, and it challenged the EU to explain how EU authorities could ensure a fair and objective assessment of “significant distortion.”

Russia said the EU rules violated the WTO rulebook and certain aspects were unclear and created great uncertainty for exporters. Bahrain, Argentina, Kazakhstan and Oman also expressed concerns.

But a US trade official said the discussion showed that appropriate tools were available within the WTO to address distortions affecting international trade.