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Saudi Arabia’s non-oil business activity grows robustly in March, PMI shows By Reuters

© Reuters. Formula One F1 - Saudi Arabian Grand Prix - Jeddah Corniche Circuit, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia - March 17, 2023 General view during practice REUTERS/Ahmed Yosri/File Photo

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DUBAI (Reuters) – Strong demand helped drive non-oil business activity in Saudi Arabia in March, with output accelerating to a six-month high, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The seasonally-adjusted Riyad Bank Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index stood at 57.0 in March, slightly lower than 57.2 in February, but well above the 50.0 mark denoting expansion in activity.

The output sub-index rose to 62.2 in March from 61.5 the previous month, its strongest since September last year, supported by new orders particularly in the manufacturing sector.

“The strong performance witnessed across various sectors, coupled with the notable increase in order books and new customers, signifies a resilient market poised for growth,” said Naif Al-Ghaith, chief economist at Riyad Bank.

“The positive momentum also prompted accelerated purchasing activities and additional hiring, underscoring a buoyant market outlook,” he added.

The new orders sub-index jumped to 64.0 in March from 62.2 in February, the second consecutive month of acceleration. Foreign sales also improved for the second month in a row but the pace of growth was modest.

Government investment is supporting non-oil sectors such as tourism, construction and manufacturing to meet the objectives of Vision 2030, the kingdom’s roadmap to end the economy’s dependence on hydrocarbons.

The 12-month business outlook brightened in March, especially in the construction, wholesale and retail sectors, the survey said.

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