01 September 1, 2018

Gulf Industry Magazine helps you catch up with the numbers behind economic and industrial developments in the region.

Saudi Arabia non-oil growth to hit 2.3pc

SAUDI ARABIA’S real GDP growth is expected to increase to 1.9 per cent in 2018, with non-oil growth strengthening to 2.3 per cent as reforms take hold and oil output increases, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in a new report.

The report summarises the views of the Executive Board as expressed during IMF’s July 16, 2018 consideration of the staff report that concluded the Article IV consultation with Saudi Arabia. Growth is expected to pick up further over the medium-term as the reforms take hold and oil output increases. Risks are balanced in the near-term. The employment of Saudi nationals has increased, especially for women, but the unemployment rate among Saudi nationals rose to 12.8 per cent in 2017.

CPI inflation has increased in recent months with the introduction of the value-added tax (VAT) and higher gasoline and electricity prices, and is forecast at 3 per cent in 2018, before it stabilizes at around 2 per cent over the medium-term. The fiscal deficit is projected to continue to narrow, from 9.3 per cent of GDP in 2017 to 4.6 per cent of GDP in 2018 and then further to 1.7 per cent of GDP in 2019.

With oil prices implied by futures markets declining over the medium-term, the deficit is then projected to widen. The deficit is expected to continue to be financed by a combination of asset drawdowns and domestic and international borrowing.


UAE, Saudi non-oil sector growth eases

THE UAE’s non-oil private sector showed the slowest rate of growth in three months during July, said Emirates NBD in its latest PMI survey, adding that both the UAE and Saudi Arabia recorded softer growth in output and new work than June.

The Emirates NBD Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by IHS Markit, contains original data collected from a monthly survey of business conditions in the UAE non-oil private sector. The Index for the UAE declined to 55.8 in July from 57.1 in June.

Commenting on the UAE PMI survey, Khatija Haque, head of Mena Research at Emirates NBD, said: “Notably, new export orders increased at the sharpest rate in three years, as firms reported stronger demand from other GCC countries and Europe.” “Employment was broadly unchanged in July, with the index barely above the neutral level at 50.2.  Year-to-date, the employment index averaged 50.8, compared with 51.2 in the same period last year, and indicating even weaker job growth in the UAE’s non-oil private sector this year relative to 2017.  Backlogs of work increased sharply again as a result of the strong rise in new orders (and flat employment), although the rate of increase in backlogs was softer than in June,” she added.

Commenting on the Saudi Arabia PMI survey, Haque said: “The headline Emirates NBD Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased marginally to 54.9 in July from 55.0 in June.  Although the index has rebounded over the last couple of months, year-to-date the headline PMI averaged 53.4, well below the 56.0 average for the same period last year, which indicates a much slower rate of growth in the Kingdom’s non-oil private sector so far this year.”


Wellness segment of smart homes to go up

THE health and wellness segment of connected homes market revenues is expected to grow from $6.67 billion in 2017 to $22.26 billion by 2022, at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 27.3 per cent, a report said.

As healthcare shifts from reactive to proactive care, a huge market is opening up for automation products that can help deliver health and wellness services through smart homes, added the report titled “Vision 2025—Healthcare in the Smart Home” from growth partnership firm Frost & Sullivan.

 The ubiquity of broadband connectivity, development of smart sensors, and the decreasing costs of devices have already made it possible to offer aging-in-place, chronic disease management, and post-acute care services in smart homes.

However, digital health vendors are striving to take telehealth to the next level by developing solutions that will allow care givers to check on the health of all the residents of the house, not just the patient›s, monitor diet and nutrition, the environment, and overall wellness.


Medical transcription market ‘set for growth’

AS a result of increased automation in health care services, the medical transcription market is anticipated to grow at a compound rate of 6.36 per cent between 2018 – 2022, a report said.

The need for automated transcription services is driven by the need for local governments to reduce their spending on healthcare, yet simultaneously maintain accuracy and use the latest technologies in their practices, explained Go Transcript, a specialist in human-powered transcriptions.

Go Transcript will help local governments cut their healthcare spending and improve the quality of their medical transcriptions by offering fast, accurate, medical transcriptions delivered by an international network of more than 2,000 human transcribers, at prices up to 60 per cent lower than other similar service providers.

The medical transcription market is divided into four regional segments: North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Africa. By 2022, the Asia-Pacific market is set to experience the largest rate of growth as a result of countries India, the Philippines, and Singapore receiving the biggest amount investments from leading medical industry players as they explore potential opportunities in the region.


New orders drive Dubai non-oil sector output

DUBAI’S non-oil private sector recorded continued improvement during July, stimulated by a further expansion in new orders, while business confidence remained strongly positive, according to the latest Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker.

Dubai’s non-oil private sector recorded continued improvement during July, stimulated by a further expansion in new orders, according to the latest Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker.

However, business conditions in Dubai’s non-oil private sector improved at a slowest rate in three months during July, with growth moderating in each of the three broad sectors surveyed. Business confidence towards future growth prospects remained strongly positive, but also softened to a three-month low.

The seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Dubai Economy Tracker Index – a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy – registered 54.9 in July, down from 56.0 in June. The figure indicated a slower expansion in Dubai’s private sector that was below the long-run average.

At the sector level, construction companies reported the sharpest growth in July (56.9), followed by wholesale & retail (56.3) and travel & tourism (54.5) respectively. However, all three sectors posted softer growth in July relative to June.

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