Egyptian non-oil private sector stabilises during January
Following a deterioration in December, business conditions in the Egyptian non-oil private sector broadly stabilised in January, mainly reflected in both output and new orders, according to the Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).
Concurrently, new export orders registered a renewed rise amid reports of greater demand from international markets. Furthermore, firms engaged in input buying, with growth picking up to the fastest since August 2014. On the price front, rates of both input cost and output charge inflation accelerated.
The survey, sponsored by Emirates NBD and produced by IHS Markit, contains original data collected from a monthly survey of business conditions in the Egyptian private sector.
"While Egypt’s headline PMI reading remained just shy of the 50.0 neutral mark in January, the signs are encouraging as we begin 2018. A pick-up in new export orders in particular stands as an indication that the difficult economic reforms enacted in late 2016 are starting to pay off,” said Daniel Richards, MENA Economist at Emirates NBD.
- Headline PMI rises to 49.9
- Business activity stabilises
- New export orders expand
The headline seasonally adjusted Emirates NBD Egypt PMI–a composite indicator designed to give an accurate overview of operating conditions in the non-oil private sector economy–rose from 48.3 in December to 49.9 in January. This was consistent with a broad stabilisation of business conditions across Egypt’s non-oil private sector. Notably, the latest reading was above its long-run average (48.1).
The headline PMI reading mainly reflected a broad stabilisation in new business and output. Both indices registered close to the neutral 50.0 threshold, following reductions in the previous month. Where increases were reported firms commented on new client wins, while those companies that registered lower new orders and output mentioned unfavourable economic conditions and high prices.
At the same time, Egypt’s non-oil private sector recorded a renewed expansion in new export orders during January. Stronger demand for Egyptian goods and services from international markets was cited as the key reason behind the latest increase in new export orders. That said, the rate of growth was marginal.
Continuing the trend observed since June 2015, staffing levels fell during January. However, the pace of job shedding was marginal and slower than the series trend.
Private sector firms continued to face higher input costs. Despite accelerating to a three-month high, inflation remained below the series trend. According to anecdotal evidence, currency weakness contributed to greater cost pressures.
Amid reports of expected improvements in demand, firms were encouraged to engage in purchasing activity at the start of the year. Furthermore, the rate of expansion accelerated to the strongest since August 2014 and was marked overall. Nonetheless, input stocks declined, albeit fractionally.
Lastly, companies retained optimism towards the 12-month outlook for output. Furthermore, the degree of positive sentiment was stronger than the series average. Anticipated improvements in demand conditions and market stability were cited as the key factors behind optimism.