Saudi non-oil PMI reaches highest level since 2015 in Feb

Saudi Arabia's non-oil PMI rose to 59.8 points in February, its highest level since 2015, from 58.2 in January, according to the latest monthly chartbook from Jadwa Investment. 


The kingdom recorded a current account surplus of 13.6% of GDP in Q4 2022, with tourism earnings contributing strongly, but the surplus was almost fully offset by outflows on the financial account.


The Saudi economy recorded growth of 8.7% in full year 2022, matching Jadwa's forecasts. Looking out into 2023, the Kingdom's economy is expected to grow by 2.8%, as flat oil production is offset by firm non-oil activity, the report said.


Consumer spending in February rose by 10.5% YoY but declined by 7% MoM, with POS transactions increasing by 15% and cash withdrawals edging up by 0.2%. 


Cement sales and production also rebounded during the month.


Meanwhile, SAMA FX reserves declined by $5 billion MoM in February to $453 billion, with the monthly decrease coming from foreign securities (-$7.3 billion) while bank deposits rose by $2.6 billion during the month.


The broad measure of money supply (M3) rose by 7.4% YoY and 1.1% MoM in February, the highest monthly rise in eight months. Total deposits rose by 8.2% YoY, while demand deposits continued to trend downwards by 3.8%, the report said. 


Consumer prices rose by 3% YoY in February but decreased by 0.1% MoM, marking the first monthly decline in 14 months.


The latest labour market release from GaStat showed that the unemployment rate for citizens reached a record low, declining to 8% in Q4 2022 from 9.9% in Q3. 


Oil markets are in a state of flux, with prices hit by financial market concerns and question marks about both Russian and US production. Meanwhile, OPEC output is expected to remain unchanged this year. Financial markets have been shaken by the collapse or bailout of a clutch of mid-tier US banks and the forced takeover of Credit Suisse. As a result, investors have brought forward their expectation of Federal Reserve interest rate easing to Q3 of this year.


TASI rebounded in March on a MoM basis, up by 4.8%, while many regional and global markets declined during the month. Average traded volumes also rebounded in March, reaching the highest level in four months, the report said. -TradeArabia News Service




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