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Saudi non-oil business hits three-month high in April

A Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 military fighter jet displays a 'Vision 2030' logo on its tail fin at the Saudi Air Show at Al Thumamah airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 [Ryan Olson/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
A Royal Saudi Air Force F-15 military fighter jet displays a 'Vision 2030' logo on its tail fin at the Saudi Air Show at Al Thumamah airport in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Tuesday, March 12, 2019 [Ryan Olson/Bloomberg via Getty Images]

Business activity in Saudi Arabia's non-oil private sector hit a three-month high in April and employment grew for the first time in five months, Reuters has reported. The figures were released in a survey on Tuesday as the Kingdom prepares its Vision 2030 plan to diversify the economy.

According to American-British information provider IHS Markit, the Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 55.2 in April, up from 53.3 in March.

"The Saudi Arabia PMI rebounded in April to indicate a strengthening of growth across the non-oil economy," said David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit. "New orders picked up at the quickest rate for three months as business conditions continued to recover from Covid-19."

Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030 plan was adopted in 2015, with the aim of raising the share of non-oil exports in the non-oil GDP from 16 per cent to 50 per cent.

De facto ruler Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman announced last week that the focus is on economic diversification as a vital step towards ensuring economic sustainability in the Kingdom. The growth in the crucial non-oil sector is highlighted as the avenue for future growth. It is expected to return to positive territory of 3.9 per cent this year and 3.6 per cent next year.

According to Reuters, the Saudi GDP in the oil sector is also expected to lift off next year, to 6.8 per cent, as the production cuts of the OPEC+ producers end and with many experts predicting a surge in crude prices.

READ: Saudi to sell 1% stake in oil giant Aramco to global energy firm

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