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Political protests hurt Kenyan private sector growth in June - PMI

06 July 2016, 18:56

Nairobi (Reuters) - Kenya's private sector activity expanded in June at the slowest pace since at least January 2014, with output nearly standing still amid a slowdown in hiring and purchasing, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Markit CFC Stanbic Kenya Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 51.5 last month from 54.0 in May, close to the 50.0 mark that divides growth from contraction.

"June data pointed to a near-stalling of Kenya's private sector economy," Markit and CFC Stanbic said.

It added that the level was the lowest since the series began in January 2014.

Overall, the economy has been expanding steadily, with economic growth for the first three months of 2016 reported at 5.9 percent. But economists have said this may have been driven largely by public investment rather than private enterprise.

In the PMI Index, the average level for the second quarter of this year was 53.4, the weakest since the start of the series.

"Some survey respondents pointed to escalating political unrest as a contributing factor to the slowdown in the pace of growth in activity," said Jibran Qureishi, the regional economist for East Africa at CFC Stanbic.

At least four people were killed when weekly protests called by the opposition CORD coalition to press for the sacking of the country's electoral body turned violent.

Demonstrations flared in late April, but CORD suspended its action after the ruling Jubilee grouping agreed to form a parliamentary team to resolve the dispute over the election oversight body before the scheduled August 2017 polls.

- Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from Markit and customers need to apply to Markit for a licence.

- Reuters


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