#Egypt business activity contracts for tenth month in August; POLL

Political turmoil pushed Egypt deeper into recession in August, with growth in non-oil private business activity falling for a tenth straight month and both output and new orders down, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The seasonally adjusted HSBC Egypt Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) was at 42.2 points in August, only marginally improved from 41.7 for July, which represented the sharpest decline in growth since December. August was the third worst month since the survey began in April 2011.

The adjusted index remains below the 50-point mark which separates growth from contraction, the survey of around 350 private sector firms showed.

More than a thousand people have died in political violence in the two months since Egypt’s military deposed Islamist President Mohamed Mursi on July 3.

A contraction in output lessened to 36.5 in August from 34.9 in July, which showed the biggest decline since December. The last time both business activity and output grew was in September 2012.

A declaration by Mursi giving himself sweeping political powers triggered weeks of street battles in December.

A decline in new orders worsened in August, falling to an eight-month low of 36.3 from July’s 36.5. Export orders were at 35.1, the greatest contraction since December and down from 39.0 in July.

Job shedding eased to 47.8 last month from 46.8 in July, the survey showed.

Input price growth inched up to 50.2, its third month of relative stability, from 50.0 in July. Egyptian consumer inflation surged to two-year high in July of 10.3 percent.


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