Egypt’s non-oil private sector expanded in October at its quickest rate in almost six years as a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic gained pace, a survey showed on Tuesday.
IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 51.4, up from 50.4 in September and above the 50.0 threshold that separates growth from contraction.
It was the second consecutive monthly improvement after 13 straight months of contraction, exacerbated earlier this year by the pandemic.
“Egyptian non-oil businesses saw a solid increase in activity at the start of the fourth quarter, amid reports of improved market conditions that led to a strong rise in client demand,” IHS Markit said in a statement accompanying the figures.
The expansion was supported by increases in output and new orders but was accompanied by a 12th straight month of falling employment, IHS Markit said. Business confidence also fell in October to its weakest since May.
“Firms raised concerns of a second wave of COVID-19 cases in Europe that could translate into higher cases in Egypt and hamper the economic recovery,” it said.
“In particular, weakness continues to lie on the employment side, as jobs decreased more quickly despite higher output and difficulties with completing incoming work,” said IHS Markit economist David Owen.
The employment sub-index slid to 47.8 from 48.3 in September.
“Firms noted that they are still struggling to raise the necessary funds to hire new staff,” Owen said.
Output improved to 53.4 from 51.0 in September while new orders climbed to 53.6 from 51.9.