Contraction of the Private Sector Economy Slackened in November; BLOM PMI inched up to 46.2

Despite the persisting declines in the levels of output and new work, contraction within the private sector economy soothed in November. Although employment levels kept on deteriorating, the rate at which businesses reduced their staff numbers was the slowest in nine months, which could have been partly behind the improving reading of BLOM PMI during the month of November. Still, the Lebanese indicator remained well below the neutral mark of 50, separating economic contraction from growth, for the 53rd successive month. On another front, foreign demand, which continue to be negatively impacted by the political uncertainty prevailing in the country, disclosed another decrease in new export orders during the eleventh month of 2017. Commenting on November’s PMI results, Dr Fadi Osseiran, General Manager at BLOMINVEST Bank, said: “As concerns escalated following Lebanon’s Prime Minister’s shocking resignation, November can be characterized as 2017’s most controversial month on the political front. Although the contraction was slower than that of the previous month, the resulting political tensions worsened business activity at the Lebanese private companies, which was reflected in the dropping levels of output and new orders. However, business conditions are expected to improve in the coming period as a political breakthrough is projected after Hariri suspended his resignation and fruitful political consultations took place between President Michel Aoun and the main parliamentary blocks.”

 

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