UAE business growth slows in April as employment stagnates

The expansion of business activity in the UAE’s non-oil private sector slowed in April as jobs growth halted, a corporate survey found on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which covers manufacturing and services, dropped to 52.8 points last month from 54.5 points in March. A level above 50 means business is expanding.

The index for employment fell to 50.0 points, its lowest level since December 2011, from 51.5 points in March.

“Growth momentum in the UAE slowed a little in April after rebounding in March. External demand remains relatively subdued, and firms appear to be reluctant to increase hiring, despite solid growth in new orders and output last month,” said Khatija Haque, head of regional research at Emirates NBD.

“The PMI data year-to-date points to slower, but still positive, growth in the UAE’s non-oil sector, which is in line with our expectation for slower real gross domestic product growth in 2016.”

Output growth slowed to 56.9 points in April from 59.7 points in March, while growth in new orders slid to 54.6 points from 56.8 points. New export orders shrank for the second straight month.

Output prices fell for the sixth straight month while input price inflation remained positive and edged up.

Growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector weakened slightly in April but remained above a record low hit in January.

The Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to 54.2 points last month from 54.5 points in March. In January, the index hit 53.9 points, its lowest since the survey was launched in August 2009.

“Saudi Arabia’s PMI has been broadly stable around 54 since the start of this year, signalling steady growth in the non-oil private sector,” said Ms Haque,

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