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Financial News: UAE Non-Oil Private Sector Activity At Lowest In

UAE Non-Oil Private Sector Activity At Lowest In Over A Decade

03/03/2020 - 06:38:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - The UAE non-oil private sector deteriorated to the lowest in ten-and-a-half years in February, falling for the second straight month, amid weaker new orders and employment, survey data from IHS Markit showed on Tuesday.

The Purchasing Managers' Index decreased to 49.1 in February from 49.3 in January. Any reading below 50.0 marks contraction in the sector. This was the lowest since August 2009.

Output levels deteriorated for the first time in ten years in February and input buying and stock levels declined.

Order book volumes fell for the second month in a row, with the rate of reduction faster from January.

The coronavirus outbreak in China led to a slight decline in export orders, the second in five months, which weighed on overall sales. Input deliveries were also delayed in February.

Backlogs of works rose for the fifth month in a row in February, led by ongoing credit issues. The number of workers increased, though the employment dropped for the second straight month due to new orders and efforts to streamline staff cost.

On the price front, output prices declined at the softest pace for seventeen months and the rate of overall input cost inflation softened to the lowest in six months.

The degree of optimism was the weakest since March 2018, though positive, with 39 percent of respondents expecting output to grow in the next year.

"Supplier performance was meanwhile hit by the coronavirus outbreak in China, with PMI surveys globally noting significant delays to freight deliveries, as well as weaker export demand," David Owen, economist at IHS Markit, said.

"While many firms remained upbeat for the year ahead, business expectations were hit by fears that the virus outbreak could damage an already struggling domestic economy."

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