Saudi economy records sharpest rise in new work in four years

The Saudi economy is rebounding from a sharp slowdown that was triggered by the collapse of oil prices in 2014. (AFP)
Updated 03 December 2019

Saudi economy records sharpest rise in new work in four years

  • Headline seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index posted 58.3 in November, up from 57.8 in October
  • Saudi economy is rebounding from a sharp slowdown that was triggered by the collapse of oil prices in 2014

LONDON: The Saudi economy recorded its biggest increase in new work in more than four years in November according to a report from IHS Markit.

The headline seasonally adjusted Purchasing Managers’ Index – a composite gauge designed to give a snapshot of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – posted 58.3 in November, up from 57.8 in October.

“A bright spot was a quickening of overall new order growth, which reached its fastest pace since April 2015,” said IHS MArkit economist Amritpal Virdee.

The Saudi economy is rebounding from a sharp slowdown that was triggered by the collapse of oil prices in 2014 that led to many projects being shelved or delayed. The stabilization of oil prices, helped by the ongoing production cuts orchestrated by OPEC and Russia, has boosted spending while at the same time ongoing reforms is making it easier for foreign companies to do business in the Kingdom.

Employment among non-oil private sector companies rose in November, but the rate of job creation was marginal and subdued by historical standards. and the highest in over four years, IHS Markit said.

Firms across the non-oil private sector scaled up their purchasing activity to support increased output requirements according to reports from surveyed businesses. However, growth in buying levels eased.

Some evidence emerged of rising prices with the latest data showing the third increase in charges for goods and services in the past four months.

However, the rise in selling prices was marginal.

Overall input prices continued to increase in November, but the rate of inflation eased for the second month running and was subdued by historical standards. Finally, November’s survey indicated longer lead times on purchased items for the first time since July 2011, which anecdotal evidence attributed to insufficient stocks among suppliers

“Overall, the private sector economy is well-placed as we look forward to 2020, with the survey’s forward-looking gauge, the Future Output Index rising to a nine-month high on the pace of new product initiatives and more positive forecasts for underlying demand,” added Virdee.

Related


Capitalism doing ‘more harm than good’ says global survey

Updated 21 January 2020

Capitalism doing ‘more harm than good’ says global survey

  • The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries

LONDON: A majority of people around the world believe capitalism in its current form is doing more harm than good, a survey found ahead of this week’s Davos meeting of business and political leaders.

This year was the first time the “Edelman Trust Barometer,” which for two decades has polled tens of thousands of people on their trust in core institutions, sought to understand how capitalism itself was viewed.

The study’s authors said that earlier surveys showing a rising sense of inequality prompted them to ask whether citizens were now starting to have more fundamental doubts about the capitalist-based democracies of the West.

“The answer is yes,” David Bersoff, lead researcher on the study produced by US communications company Edelman. “People are questioning at that level whether what we have today, and the world we live in today, is optimized for their having a good future.”

The poll contacted over 34,000 people in 28 countries, from Western democracies like the US to those based on a different model such as China or Russia, with 56 percent agreeing “capitalism as it exists today does more harm than good in the world.”

The survey was launched in 2000 to explore the theories of political scientist Francis Fukuyama, who after the collapse of communism declared that liberal capitalist democracy had seen off rival ideologies and so represented “the end of history.”

That conclusion has since been challenged by critics who point to everything from the rising influence of China to the spread of autocratic leaders, trade protectionism and worsening inequality in the wake of the 2007/08 global financial crisis.

On a national level, lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75 percent and 74 percent respectively, with France close behind on 69 percent. Majorities prevailed in other Asian, European, Gulf, African and Latin American states.

Only in Australia, Canada, the US, South Korea, Hong Kong and Japan did majorities disagree with the assertion capitalism currently did more harm than good.

FASTFACT

75%

The Edelman Trust Barometer survey found lack of trust in capitalism was highest in Thailand and India on 75 percent and 74 percent respectively.

The survey confirmed a by-now familiar set of concerns ranging from worries about the pace of technological progress and job insecurity, to distrust of the media and a sense that national governments were not up to the challenges of the day.

Within the data there were divergences, with Asians more optimistic about their economic prospects than others across the world. There was also a growing split in attitudes according to status, with the affluent and college-educated much more likely to have faith in how things were being run.

Of possible interest to corporate leaders gathering in Davos this week was the finding that trust in business outweighed that in governments and that 92 percent of employees said CEOs should speak out on the social and ethical issues of the day.

“Business has leapt into the void left by populist and partisan government,” said Edelman CEO Richard Edelman. “It can no longer be business as usual, with an exclusive focus on shareholder returns.”