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Kenya private sector up slightly in May

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Kenya’s private sector activity inched up in May after falling sharply a month earlier because of restrictions to curb the spread of coronavirus, but conditions are expected to worsen in coming months, a survey showed on Thursday.

The Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) came in at 36.7, higher than April’s 34.8 but still well below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

“Driving the downturn was a considerable fall in output levels in May, as businesses reported lower activity due to weak sales,” the survey compilers said in a report.

“Demand levels were again impacted by travel restrictions around Nairobi and Mombasa, which meant some firms were unable to acquire inputs.”

Tourism and horticulture, leading sources of foreign exchange, have been hit hard by the coronavirus crisis, as have transport and manufacturing.

The survey said many firms cut jobs in May, while exports fell due to travel curbs and lockdowns in overseas markets.


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