Egypt’s non-oil private sector activity deteriorated in December, amid a fall in output and new orders, data from IHS Markit revealed on Tuesday.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index, or PMI, fell to 48.2 in December from 50.9 in November. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.
The latest reading ended a three-month upturn in the economy that followed a sharp downturn caused by the pandemic, IHS Markit said.
Business activity declined in December, as sales dropped due to a rise in Covid-19 cases. Output and sales declined at a softer pace.
Input stocks decreased in December, as the volume of inventories rose at the quickest rate for eight-and-a-half years.
Backlogs of work remained unchanged for the first time in eight months in December and led to a fastest decline in number of workforce.
On the price front, selling prices rose slightly in December, albeit at a softer pace. Some firms reduced their charges to attract new customers.
The outlook for the next 12 months increased in December. Optimism increased as Covid-19 vaccines distribution began.
“The decline in sales was a surprise to those firms that made additional purchases earlier in the fourth quarter, as stocks of unused inputs built up at the quickest rate since mid-2012,” David Owen, economist at IHS Markit, said.