The economy of Egypt has seen a modest return to growth in both of production and new orders last month following a deceleration in January. On the other hand, employment in the country’s non-oil producing private sector continued to contract. The HSBC headline PMI stood just at the neutral mark of 50 in February, after posting 48.7 in January. This reflects generally unchanged operating conditions in the economy from the previous month. The latest two readings of the index suggest that the notable improvement at the end of 2013 was mainly due to the low-base effect. More robust momentum is needed in the fundamentals of the economy for there to be a sustained expansion in the PMI. The unemployment rate in Egypt closed out 2013 at 13.4%, unchanged from the previous quarter but up from 13.0% at the end of 2012, as the economy weakened on the back of political uncertainty.
The CPI in Kenya fell from 7.2% y-o-y in January to 6.9% y-o-y in February, according to the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS). On a month-on-month basis, the CPI increased by 0.4% compared to 0.5% and 1.1% in December and January, respectively.
In Tunisia, the CPI dropped to a 5.8% annual rate in January, while the producer price inflation edged up to 2.2% y-o-y in December on higher food processing prices.
In South Africa, 4Q13 GDP growth rebounded from the strike-beleaguered 2Q and 3Q of the year. According to Statistics SA, real seasonally adjusted GDP rebounded to an annualised 3.8% in the 4Q13, compared to growth of 0.5% in the 3Q13. Even so, the economy has shown a declining rate of GDP growth in 2013 for the second consecutive year. The economy grew at a rate of 1.9% last year, following 2.5% and 3.6% in 2012 and 2011, respectively. The country’s PMI of February highlighted a rise in activity as a result of the quickest pace of acceleration in new orders in more than a year. The survey showed, however, that input and output price inflations were at record highs. The PMI index rose to 51.5 last month, up from 50.3 in January.