December 6, 2018 / 4:24 AM / 7 months ago

UAE private sector growth picks up slightly in November: PMI

FILE PHOTO: Skyline of Dubai, United Arab Emirates December 11, 2017. REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh

DUBAI (Reuters) - Growth of the United Arab Emirates’ non-oil private sector picked up slightly in November as employment rose faster, a survey of companies showed on Thursday.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD UAE Purchasing Managers’ Index, which covers manufacturing and services, rose to 55.8 last month from 55.0 in October. A reading above 50 indicates expansion and below that, contraction.

Output growth accelerated to 60.1 from 58.6 and growth in new orders was 61.0 against 60.2. Employment, which had dropped outright in August and September, continued to rebound with its reading climbing to 50.6.

Khatija Haque, regional economist at Emirates NBD, said firmer export demand contributed to new order growth in November, with new export orders rising at their fastest pace in four months. Some businesses reported increased orders from other Gulf Arab countries.

But she noted that selling prices in the UAE fell at their fastest rate since the 2009 recession in November, while input price inflation accelerated.

“That input costs rose at the fastest rate since January even as firms were cutting output prices speaks to the challenging business environment and the pressure this is putting on firms to compete on price,” she said.

Although the reading for employment rose in November, 94.2 percent of firms reported unchanged headcount last month.

Reporting by Andrew Torchia; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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