UAE non-oil business growth slows in September

Business activity growth in the UAE’s non-oil private sector slowed in September from August’s six-month high but remained comfortably in positive territory, a corporate survey showed on Monday.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which covers manufacturing and services, fell to 56.0 points last month from 57.1 in the previous month. A level above 50 indicates expansion.

Output growth slipped to 61.7 points from 63.1, while new order growth eased to 60.1 from 61.3. Employment growth slowed but stayed positive.

“The strength of total new order growth is particularly encouraging, given the remarkable weakness in export orders last month, and in our view underlines the strength of domestic demand in the UAE even against a backdrop of low oil prices,” said Khatija Haque, head of regional research at Emirates NBD.

New export orders dropped in September for the first time in nearly five and a half years – only the fourth fall since the survey began in August 2009. Some respondents cited increasing competition in export markets.

Output prices rose slightly in September after two months of falls, while input price inflation accelerated to 54.5 points, the highest in 11 months.

Meanwhile, growth in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector slowed in September from a five-month high in August as new order growth decreased.

The PMI slipped to 56.5 points last month from 58.7 points in August.

Output growth slowed to 63.7 points from 65.8, while growth in new orders fell more steeply, to a three-month low of 60.4 from 64.8. However, the overall picture remained positive, said Ms Haque.

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