Kenya private sector expands at strongest level in a year - PMI


NAIROBI, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Activity in Kenya's private sector rose at its fastest pace in a year last month on the back of a gradual easing of coronavirus lockdown measures, a survey showed on Wednesday.

The Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) jumped to 54.2 in July, from 46.6 in the previous month, well above the 50.0 mark that separates growth from contraction. July's level was the highest since June last year.

"The removal of county travel restrictions supported output and business sentiment in July," said Jibran Qureishi, head of Africa Research at Stanbic Bank, referring to the opening up of the capital Nairobi and the port city of Mombasa.

He said the outlook was uncertain, however.

Firms continued to shed jobs in July, the survey found, but a slower pace than in the previous months.

The government cut its GDP growth forecast for this year to about 2.5% due to the pandemic, from an initial 6%.

(Reporting by Duncan Miriri; editing by John Stonestreet)

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