CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt’s non-oil private-sector activity weakened slightly in October to reach its lowest level of 2018, a survey showed on Monday.
The Emirates NBD Egypt Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the non-oil private sector weakened to 48.6 in October from 48.7 in September, below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction.
September’s return to contraction followed expansionary readings in July and August.
Daniel Richards, MENA economist at Emirates NBD, said the data “suggests that private sector firms remain under pressure as Egypt’s IMF-sponsored economic reform program continues”.
“That being said, the reading is still far higher than those seen at the start of the process in November 2016, and future expectations remain robust.”
The PMI has had an average reading of 47.9 since the International Monetary Fund reform program began.
The non-oil private-sector sector saw a decline in output for the second consecutive month, which companies attributed to lower demand for goods and services due to challenging market conditions.
Companies also saw a decrease in export orders in October, though at a slower pace than seen in September, which they linked to challenging economic conditions in international markets.
Egypt’s fiscal year runs from July to June.
Egypt has been implementing a series of tough economic reforms as part of the three-year $12 billion deal with the IMF. Measures included devaluing the Egyptian pound, slashing energy subsidies and imposing new taxes in an attempt to draw back investors who fled during the 2011 uprising.
Reporting by Yousef Saba; Editing by Catherine Evans