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The Sales Managers' Index: Africa

Released: March, 19 2015

African Economic Growth Remains Strong in March

  • Egypt continues to lead Africa’s economic expansion
  • Manufacturing and Service SMIs still rising at a solid pace
  • Labour market conditions improve slightly, driven mostly by an sharp increase in staffing levels in Egypt

The Headline Sales Managers’ Index for Africa remained well above the no-change threshold of 50.0 in March, registering 57.3, down fractionally from 57.4 in February. This was the smallest fall in three consecutive month of declines and the lowest level since September 2014. That said, the latest reading still indicates a strong increase in overall economic activity over the month.

Among the major African economies, Egypt again posted the highest reading (66.8), followed by Nigeria (60.3), South Africa (57.9) and Algeria (57.3). A significant increase in foreign direct investment and a rise in job numbers were cited by surveyed respondents in Egypt as the main factors driving these high levels of economic activity. Meanwhile, in Nigeria and South Africa the slowdown in business conditions was attributed to falling oil prices and a deepening energy crisis. Nigerian panellists especially signed short term caution ahead of the delayed presidential elections on the 28th March.

Sector data for pan-Africa shows that the March Manufacturing SMI fell to 57.5, from 58.0 in February, and the Services SMI fell to 57.9, from 58.4 on the previous month. These index figures, nevertheless, suggest that business activity across the African region continues to grow solidly.

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