Kenyan private sector activity contracted in July for the fourth month in a row as the impact of rising inflation and caution ahead of elections later in August dampened business, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The S&P Global Kenya Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) fell to 46.3 in July from 46.8 a month earlier. The index has stayed below the 50.0 mark denoting growth in activity since April.

"July data pointed to a sharp and accelerated decline in business activity in the Kenyan private sector, due to a combination of uncertainty around the upcoming election and the impact of inflationary pressures on sales," text accompanying the survey said.

Kenyans will vote on Aug. 9 to elect a new president, local authorities and legislators. Two of the last three presidential elections have led to deadly violence.

Inflation rose to 8.3% year-on-year in July from 7.9% a month earlier, nearing a level not seen since June 2017, data from the statistics office showed.

The economy grew rapidly in the first quarter of this year, official data showed in late June, but that was before rising inflation started eating into demand and denting economic performance outlook. (Reporting by George Obulutsa; Editing by Hugh Lawson)