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East African Community

East African Community

 

Kenya: Purchase Manager Index drops to 50.9

The Kenyan private sector continued to grow in February. The Purchase Manager Index (PMI) February study shows that the Kenyan economy is still improving from a difficult 2020. The PMI headline number, however, fell to 50.9 from 53.2 in January. The headline number of 50.9 means that private activity in February grew but at a slow speed.

Any headline PMI number above 50 reveals that business activity is growing, while any headline number below 50 shows that economic activity is slowing down. The February PMI review also suggests that the price of raw materials increased. The January rise in VAT, supply shortages and the growth in fuel prices are to blame.

We expect the Kenyan economy to improve in 2021. The only threat remains the growth of COVID-19 infections. We encourage readers to invest in this period to benefit from the current opportunities.

Tanzania: Mortgage industry grows despite COVID-19

The home loans lent to the Tanzanian public grew by 6% in 2020 despite the global pandemic. The bankers benefited from the lack of COVID-19 constraints in Tanzania to raise their mortgage lending. The high demand for housing and home loans in Tanzania also explains the strong growth. Tanzania’s Real Estate, however, still deals with difficulties that affect the ability of borrowers getting bank loans.

Uganda: Ugandan private sector is in recovery

The Ugandan economic activity, as measured by the Purchase Manager Index (PMI) study, is recovering. Private sector activity in January had slowed down due to the general elections. The PMI headline number in February grew to 51.2 from 49.8. The headline PMI number at 51.2 shows that the private sector is improving. (Please note that any PMI reading above 50 signals growth.)

The end of the elections and the preparations around school reopening encouraged business activity in February. The removal of COVID-19 controls and reopening of schools will support GDP growth in Uganda in 2021

Financial Markets Review

Financial Markets Review

Regional inflation continue to rise.

  • In Kenya overall inflation in February grew to 5.78%(YoY) from the 5.69%(YoY) we saw in January. The slight increase in inflation can be connected to the rise in fuel prices in February. The increase in global crude oil prices in February resulted in an increase in retail fuel and transport prices. We expect inflation in Kenya to also grow in March as global crude oil prices continue to grow.
  • Uganda’s headline inflation also grew in February. February inflation rose to 3.8%(YoY) from 3.7%(YoY) recorded in January. The increase in inflation is because of a February rise in food prices. The Annual Food Crops and Related Items inflation expanded to -4.7% higher than the -7.4% recorded in January.
  • Tanzania’s headline inflation, however, declined in February. February inflation fell to 3.3%(YoY) from 3.5%(YoY) recorded in January. The fall in overall inflation was due to the decline in core inflation. Core inflation, or inflation that ignores the changes in fuel and food prices, fell to 3.6% from 3.8%.

Kenya: BOU & BOT maintain their rates.

In February, the Bank of Uganda (BOU) and Bank of Tanzania (BOT) chose to maintain their rates. The BOU and BOT decided to keep their policy rates low to encourage economic growth. We expect all Central Banks in East Africa to continue encouraging economic growth.

 

Kenya: Liquidity improves. 
Kenya’s money market liquidity improved in February. The interbank, a measure the need for cash, tells us conditions are better. The average interbank rate for the month fell to 4.5% from 5.2%. The gain should increase the demand for T-Bills. 

Kenya: Yield curve rises over the month. 
The yield curve in February rose by an average of 15bps. The 15bps increase means that investors are now asking for more returns to buy bonds. The increase was due to increased government borrowing over the period. The 10-year paper yield rose by 46bps to record the sharpest rise over the month. 
In February, the Central Bank of Kenya reopened two fixed coupon bonds. They offered a 7-year (FXD1/2013/15) and a 12- year (FXD1/2012/20). The auction aimed to raise KES 50.0Bn for budgetary support. The CBK accepted only KES 32.1Bn for the two papers.
 


Kenya Shilling loses value. 
The KES had a mixed performance against major currencies in February. The Kenya Shilling returned 0.3% (MoM), -2.6% (MoM) and -0.5% (MoM) against the US Dollar, the Sterling Pound and the Euro. We expect the KES to remain unstable as the economy recovers from COVID. 

The KES, however, lost value against most regional currencies over the same period. In the month, the Kenyan Shilling returned 0.0% (MoM), -0.3% (MoM) and -0.4% (MoM) against the Uganda Shilling (USH), Tanzanian Shilling (TSH) and the Rwandan Franc (RWF).


Most regional equities grow in value. 


All the East Africa equity markets recorded growth in February. The Nairobi All Share Index (NASI), Dar-es-Salaam All Share Index (DSEI) and Uganda All Share Index (UASI) all gained 6.3%(MoM), 3.0%(MoM) and 4.0%(MoM). The growth recorded was the strongest this year. 

The future of equities in the region remains unknown. Investors remain fearful of a Kenyan general election next year. Lower profits and a decline in declared dividends in 2020 are facts that worry investors.

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Please find past Monthly reports

  • December 2020
  • January 2021
  • February 2021
  • March 2021

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