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Growth in Saudi Arabian non-oil business activity slowed in October to its weakest rate for three months as the pace of output and new order growth eased, a survey showed on Tuesday.
The seasonally adjusted SABB HSBC Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers Index slowed to 56.7 points in October from 58.7 points in September, with both well above the 50-point mark that separates expansion from contraction.
In September the index had registered a six-month high. It was not clear whether the religious festivals of Ramadan in August and the haj in October had affected the figures, as both involved long government and private sector holidays. Although the survey is seasonally adjusted, Muslim holidays are at different times each year.
The rate of output growth for non-oil producing private sector companies, at 58.2, was the second-slowest in the survey's 51-month history, but it still represented a robust expansion which the survey said was linked to increased new business.
New orders increased again in October but at the slowest pace in three months at 64.7.
Job creation growth was at the weakest level since May at 51.5. In all seven months since March, when the government stepped up a campaign to reduce the number of foreign workers, job creation has been slower than at any time since late 2011, the survey data showed.