Egypt’s non-oil private sector contracted for a fourth straight month in March, and at a faster pace than in February as new orders and export sales dropped, although future expectations improved, a survey showed on Monday.
IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) declined to 48.0, its lowest reading since June, from 49.3 in February and below the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction.
“Client demand remained subdued as new order inflows fell solidly, whilst export sales dropped for the first time in three months,” IHS Markit said.
“Consequently, employment, backlogs and input purchases fell further, although this helped to soften cost inflationary pressures.”
The new export orders subindex slid to 48.6 in March from 56.3 in February and 52.4 in January.
The non-oil private sector as a whole began contracting in December, ending a three-month expansion, as a resurgence in coronavirus cases dampened demand.
The outlook for future business activity was more positive as the vaccine programme expanded, IHS Markit said.
“Businesses predicted that economic conditions will start to pick up soon as vaccines feed through to a greater reopening of the economy,” it said.
The output subindex slid to 46.7 from 48.9 in February, its fastest monthly pace since June, and the new orders subindex dropped to 46.9 from 49.1.
Job numbers continued to shrink, extending a decline that began in November 2019. The employment subindex came in at 48.9 compared to the 49.3 recorded in February.
Main Photo: A member of medical team sprays disinfectants at Giza pyramids in Egypt, Egypt. EPA-EFE/MOHAMED HOSSAM