New orders grow, appetite from EU improving, but PMI reading still below below 50 in February
Total new orders for Egypt’s non-oil private sector returned to expansion and new export business witnessed an uptick in February, the Markit-compiled Emirates NBD PMI showed. The PMI reading for the month still remained below the 50.0 neutral mark at 49.7, but was over its long-run average. “Panelists noted stronger demand from both domestic and export markets. Despite the rate of growth being only marginal overall, the expansion was only the third recorded over the past two-and-a-half years… Some panel members noted higher demand from EU markets.” Even though the survey shows that output contracted during February, the overall level of confidence “was well above the historical average,” and anecdotal evidence showed higher business investment, an expected economic upturn, and new project wins underpinning confidence. “The data remains upbeat in comparison to recent annual averages. In particular, new orders, new export orders, and business optimism were all in positive territory, supporting our view of a strengthening Egyptian economy, and our expectation that the headline figure will begin to breach the 50.0 level more consistently in the coming quarters,” Emirates NBD MENA Economist Daniel Richards commented.