February 2021 Monthly Market Review

Monthly Market Review 28th February 2021

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

Regional Inflation Rates

Central Bank Rates

In Kenya overall inflation in February grew to 5.78%(YoY)

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.

In Uganda’s headline inflation rose to 3.8%(YoY) from 3.7%(YoY)

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 fell to 3.3%(YoY) from 3.5%(YoY)

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.



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