Analysts said that foreign direct investments into the Kenyan economy may not experience a slump. File Photo: IOL

INTERNATIONAL - Kenya’s private sector activity fell in February to its lowest level in 15 months, hurt by slowing consumer demand and growth in output, a survey showed on Tuesday.

The Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for manufacturing and services fell to 51.2 from 53.2 in January. Any reading above 50.0 indicates growth.

That was the lowest reading for the PMI since November 2017, when conditions last worsened.

At that time Kenya was emerging from a presidential election that had to be repeated in October 2017 after the country’s top court nullified the original August vote. Economic activity had been subdued in the months leading to the polls.

Economic activity remained subdued until after March 2018, when President Uhuru Kenyatta and his foremost rival, opposition leader Raila Odinga, reconciled.

“Contributing to the fall in the headline figure, new order growth slowed considerably in February to the weakest in the current sequence of expansion. Moreover, over 25 percent of firms saw a fall in sales amid softer customer demand,” the survey report said.

“A weaker rise in overall demand instigated slower output growth at Kenyan firms in February. The rate at which activity increased was the least marked in 15 months.”