Kenya’s private sector activity rose by the fastest rate in 29 months in September according to a report released by the Markit Stanbic Bank Kenya Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI).

PMI jumped to 56.3 in September from 53.0 in the previous month, driven by an increase in firms resuming operations after President Uhuru Kenyatta eased some of the restrictions imposed to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The 56.3 mark is the highest level since April 2018, while the 50.0 mark separates growth from contraction.

Part of the PMI report says, “With the government easing lockdown restrictions during the third quarter of the year, firms saw a release of pent-up demand as clients largely returned to markets.”

Despite having more than 38,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus and 718 deaths, the government began re-opening the economy in July, a move government termed as “gradual and driven by science.”

According to Jibran Qureishi, head of Africa Research at Stanbic Bank, “The PMI indicated a further improvement in business confidence and operating conditions this month.”

Last week, reported that the Central Bank expects the economy to grow by 3.1% in this financial year –

The International Monetary Fund and National Treasury on the other hand project a much lesser growth rate of less than – 0.27% and 2.5% respectively.

 “We ought to be cautious around the possibility of a second wave globally that could dampen external demand again,” Qureishi warned.

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