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Lebanon PMI slips to four-month low in April

Staff Writer |
The health of Lebanon's private sector economy deteriorated at the start of the second quarter.

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The headline BLOM Lebanon PMI dipped to 46.2 in April, from March's 46.5, to signal the most marked decline in business conditions in 2018 so far.

Private sector output fell sharply and at the fastest rate for four months in April.

The contraction came amid reports from surveyed businesses of geopolitical instability in the region, which had in turn weighed on tourism and client demand.

New orders decreased at a marked rate that was unchanged from that seen in March, while the level of new business from abroad fell to the greatest extent for two years.

With firms seeing a further decline in workloads in April, employment levels were reduced for a second consecutive month.

The rate of job losses was the quickest seen since October last year, albeit still only modest overall.

The reduction in the amount of incoming new work was also reflected in further marked drop in outstanding business.

Latest data meanwhile showed a deterioration in firms' expectations for output in the year ahead.

Business confidence was in fact at its lowest for 11 months, with the proportion of companies predicting lower output in 12 months' time rising steeply since the previous survey period.

Elsewhere, April saw a further weakening of cost pressures facing businesses in the private sector economy.

The rate of input price inflation eased further from January's recent peak to the lowest in 2018 so far.

The marginal increase in cost burdens reflected slight rises in both average purchase prices and staff pay.

Average prices charged for goods and services meanwhile fell for the second month in a row.

Moreover, the rate of decline was the quickest seen since October 2015.

Finally, private sector companies reported a further reduction in their quantities of purchases in April.

The extent to which buying levels decreased was the most marked since last November.

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