BUSINESS

Uganda’s economy to grow in 2018 – Experts

Experts say an increase in demand for construction material has propelled economic growth in the last year.

The private sector in Uganda has started the new year with a growing sense of confidence according to the results of latest Stanbic bank PMI index figures for January 2018. Registering 52.0 well above the 50.0 threshold that indicates an improvement in business conditions, this figure represents the 12th such expansion in as many months.

Analysing the results, Stanbic Bank’s Fixed Income Manager Benoni Okwenje, noted that the private sector output expanded, driven mainly by an increase in expenditure within the construction sector.

New orders also continued to rise brought about by stronger demand both domestically and globally.

“Anecdotal evidence suggested that greater marketing efforts contributed to the rises in both new business and output. Greater purchasing activity also enabled further growth in operating capacity. This allowed private sector companies to work through outstanding business. Suppliers also coped with higher volumes of new orders, with delivery times shortening again in January,” Okwenje added.

The report showed greater demand caused cost pressures to continue, with overall input costs increasing further at the start of the year.

A rise in costs was registered across the wholesale & retail, agriculture, construction, industry and services sub-sectors.

Both purchase prices and staff costs increased in January.

Making a forecast of the Ugandan economy in 2018, Jibran Qureishi, Stanbic Bank, Regional Economist for East Africa said: “We expect the Ugandan economy to grow between 4.5%-4.8% in 2018. This will be driven by improvements in agricultural productivity and an increase  in  public  investment  in  infrastructure to support  economic  activity  over  the  coming  year, which is why we project GDP growth to be in the region of 5.6% in 2018.”

Uganda’s economy posted a strong 7.5% annual growth rate in Q3; the economy shifted into a higher gear for the fourth consecutive quarter.

“We expect the Ugandan economy to grow between 4.5%-4.8% in 2018. This will be driven by improvements in agricultural productivity and an increase  in  public  investment  in  infrastructure to support  economic  activity  over  the  coming  year, which is why we project GDP growth to be in the region of 5.6% in 2018.”

Indicators suggest that the momentum lasted throughout the final quarter of the year. December’s PMI showed business conditions remained strongly expansionary.

Moreover, the business tendency survey and economic activity index both recorded improvements in Q4.

The Stanbic PMI is a composite index, calculated as a weighted average of five individual sub-components: New Orders (30%), Output (25%), Employment (20%), Suppliers’ Delivery Times (15%) and Stocks of Purchases (10%).

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