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Middle East

Egyptian private activity shrinks for fifth month in April -PMI

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Egypt's non-oil private sector shrank for a fifth month in April as sales and employment declined at a heightened pace and input costs rose, a survey showed on Thursday.

IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) slid to 47.7, its lowest reading since June, from 48.0 in March, staying below the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction.

Expectations of future output, at 65.0, were still solid but softer than the 77.2 recorded in March when the rollout of a COVID-19 vaccine programme raised hopes of a rebound, IHS Markit said.

"Firms generally reported that weaker market conditions led to a drop in client demand," IHS Markit said.

Output and new orders both registered their fifth month of contraction, but with the output sub-index edging up to 46.8 from 46.7 in March and the new orders sub-index climbing to 47.0 from 46.9.

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 new export orders sub-index nonetheless rose to 53.1 from 48.6 in March as economies abroad improved.

The pace of inflation was the fastest recorded since September 2019, with goods such as metals and plastics rising in price, forcing many businesses to raise their prices.

"Notably, a number of companies reported that higher raw material prices led them to put purchasing decisions on hold during the month, instead utilising existing stocks," IHS Markit said.

The number of jobs continued to shrink, extending a decline that began in November 2019. The employment sub-index fell to 47.6, in its strongest contraction since August, from 48.9 in March.

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