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Tue 4 Feb 2014 11:36 AM

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UAE business activity growth eases to 3-mth low in Jan

Non-oil private sector eased as output slowed, despite a rise in new orders

UAE business activity growth eases to 3-mth low in Jan

Business activity growth in the United Arab Emirates' non-oil private sector eased slightly to a three-month low in January as output slowed despite a rise in new orders, a purchasing managers' survey showed on Tuesday.

The HSBC UAE Purchasing Managers Index, which measures the performance of the manufacturing and services sectors, dipped to 57.1 points in January from 57.4 in the previous month.

The adjusted index remains above the 50-point mark which separates growth from contraction, the survey of 400 private sector firms showed.

"The UAE has entered the year growing strong and building momentum, even as some other emerging markets appear to be losing their way," said Simon Williams, chief economist for the Middle East and North Africa at HSBC.

"Inflationary pressures are building but this is a sweet spot in the UAE's economic cycle where rapid growth doesn't yet mean a surge in prices."

UAE firms saw output growth fall to 58.7 points in January, the weakest rate in three months, from 60.1 in December. New orders were at 65.8, the second-highest rate since the series started in August 2009.

Growth in new export orders picked up to 56.0 points from a four-month low of 54.5 points in December, the survey showed. Employment creation across the UAE's non-oil private sector slowed to 52.2 points in January, the slowest rate since August.

Output price growth decelerated to 51.3 points in January from 51.8 in the previous month. Input price growth slowed to a three-month low of 54.9 points.

Consumer price inflation in the UAE, the world's No. 3 oil exporter, climbed to 1.1 percent on average last year, the highest rate since 2009, from 0.7 percent in 2012, which was the lowest level since 1990.

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