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South Africa’s private-sector activity little changed in May, PMI shows

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JOHANNESBURG, June 5 (Reuters) – Private-sector activity in South Africa was little changed in May from April, remaining in positive territory, as new orders and output failed to register significant gains.

The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, was at 50.2 in May compared with 50.3 in April, still above the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.

“PMI remained above 50 for the ninth month running in May, signalling the longest sequence of overall improvement in operating conditions in five years,” Markit said in a statement.

The sub-index for new orders fell to 50.1 in May from 50.4 previously. Output rose slightly to 49.9 from 49.6.

South Africa’s economic outlook has been clouded by credit rating downgrades to “junk” by two of the three major rating agencies after President Jacob Zuma fired Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in late March.

A fall below investment-grade typically constricts funding and sharply raises borrowing costs.


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South Africa’s private sector activity still in negative territory

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JOHANNESBURG, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Activity in South Africa’s private sector remained in decline at the start of 2016, a survey showed on Wednesday, with employment, new orders and output all falling since December.

The Standard Bank Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), compiled by Markit, edged up to 49.6 in January from 49.1 a month before, but remained below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

“While the weak rand helped exports to stabilise, it also exerted some upward pressure on input costs, resulting in the steepest increase in overall input costs for five months,” Markit said. South Africa’s rand slid about 25 percent against the dollar last year, weighed down by a dim outlook for Africa’s most developed economy and slowing growth in China, a key consumer of local commodities. Investors are also worried about the prospect of undue political interference in economic policy after President Jacob Zuma suddenly fired the finance minister in December.

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Kenya’s private sector activity picks up in November

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NAIROBI (Reuters) – Kenyan business activity expanded at a faster rate in November than the previous month, driven by a rise in domestic demand, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Markit and CFC Stanbic Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 53.7 last month from 51.7 in October, climbing further above the 50-point line that denotes growth in business activity.

The PMI is one of the indicators watched by the central bank’s Monetary Policy Committee.

“After a tough couple of months of growth, the private sector rebounded quite impressively in November, buoyed by a recovery mainly from output and employment,” said Jibran Qureishi, regional economist for East Africa at CFC Stanbic.

A steady exchange rate for the shilling, which has stabilised at about 102 to the dollar after weakening to near a record low around 106 in September, reduced the cost pressures facing firms.

“The encouraging aspect of this month’s PMI report is the indication of growth being driven largely by domestic demand as suggested by the rise in new business orders despite new export orders stagnating,” Qureishi said in the statement.

The CFC Stanbic Kenya PMI was started in January 2014.



(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; Editing by Edmund Blair and Hugh Lawson)

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