Egypt's non-oil private sector growth slows on pandemic worries -PMI

IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers' Index (came in at 50.9, down from 51.4 in October but holding above the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction

  
Image used for illustrative purpose. A cityscape of the downtown area of Cairo, capital city of Egypt.

Image used for illustrative purpose. A cityscape of the downtown area of Cairo, capital city of Egypt.

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CAIRO - Egypt's non-oil private sector activity growth slowed in November and consumer confidence dropped to its lowest in nearly a decade on worries about a resurgence in the coronavirus pandemic, a survey showed on Thursday.

IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) came in at 50.9, down from 51.4 in October but holding above the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction.

"Weaker rises in output and new business suggested a tail-off in the economic recovery in November, although it came after output growth reached its highest in over six years during October," IHS Markit economist David Owen said.

"Egyptian firms were also the least optimistic about future output in the series history, amid concerns that activity could weaken if COVID-19 cases rise again domestically."

Output and new orders climbed for a fifth month, although at slower rates than in October. Output registered 52.0 in November, down from 53.4, and new orders 52.7, down from 53.6.

Stricter coronavirus lockdowns in European markets have "led to increased worries among Egyptian firms that virus infections could rise in the future and potentially hamper the economic recovery," IHS Markit said.

Future output expectations were at 55.6, down from 62.0 in October and the lowest reading since the PMI began measuring in April 2012.

Private employment continued to contract for a 13th month, although at a slower rate than in October, with the sub-index improving to 48.5 from 47.8, marking the slowest rate of contraction since October 2019.

(Reporting by Patrick Werr; Editing by Hugh Lawson) ((patrick.werr@thomsonreuters.com;))

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