NAIROBI, Kenya, Nov 4 – Business activity in the private sector jumped in October, on account of the government’s further easing of restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the coronavirus, a report by Stanbic Bank has found.
During the month, the Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) rose to 59.1 from 56.3 in September. This is the highest the readings have been since the survey began in Kenya in January 2014.
According to the study, output and new order growth accelerated to the sharpest on record as lockdown restrictions, associated with COVID-19, eased during October.
“In response to sustained output growth, firms were encouraged to raise staffing levels, bringing an end to seven months of job shedding. Robust increases in output requirements led to a solid expansion in purchasing activity,” the report reads.
The report also reveals that rising output and order book volumes led companies to raise their staffing levels at the start of the fourth quarter, ending a seven-month sequence of job cuts.
According to the report, the rate of job creation was the strongest in 11 months.
Despite the growth in employment, backlogs increased at the same pace as in September as capacity pressures continued. Firms raised their input buying during October, with the rate of expansion the sharpest in the series so far.
Subsequently, pre-production inventories rose markedly.
According to respondents, stocks increased in tandem with favourable predictions for future demand.
Kenya eased some restrictions aimed at containing the spread of the virus in September, like the sale of alcohol in bars and restaurants.
As of Tuesday, Kenya had 57,093 confirmed COVID-19 cases and 1,039 deaths, according to health ministry data.