| 07 November, 2019

BLOM Lebanon PMI®

Private sector operating conditions continue to decline in October

Data collected October 11-17

  • Further deterioration in private sector business conditions
  • Output and new orders fall at softer rates
  • Input prices increase slightly

Sources: IHS Markit, Blominvest Bank

This report contains the latest public release of data collected from the monthly survey of business conditions in the Lebanese private sector. The survey, sponsored by Blominvest Bank and compiled by IHS Markit, has been conducted since May 2013 and provides an early indication of operating conditions in Lebanon. The headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI®).

The 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%). Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions on the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

Due to business closures amid protests across Lebanon since October 17th, the data collection period for the latest PMI results closed earlier than planned. All results are therefore based upon responses collected on or before the 17th of October.

The BLOM Lebanon PMI registered at 48.3 in October, up from 46.4 in September. The result signalled the slowest decline in business conditions since January 2016. However, it should be noted that the majority of survey responses were collected before the onset of protest disruptions.

Commenting on the October 2019 PMI results, Dr. Fadi Osseiran, General Manager of BLOMINVEST Bank, said: “Economic growth ranged between 0% to 0.5% since the beginning of the year. While the October PMI score reflects an uptick to 48.3 from September’s 46.4, the former is based on companies’ input prior to the onset of ongoing demonstrations as of October 17th. However, the operations of private sector companies since the protests are paralyzed. Therefore, the materialization of economic cost of the business impasse is expected in November’s PMI, noting that every day of closure will have an additional cost on the economy.”

The main findings of October’s survey were as follows:

The slower deterioration in operating conditions was in part driven by a softer fall in output at Lebanese private sector firms in October, according to the PMI survey results collected by October 17th. Though solid, the rate of contraction was the slowest for 45 months.

Similarly, new orders placed with businesses in Lebanon decreased at the start of the fourth quarter, but the rate of decline eased from September. In fact, the latest reduction was slowest since January 2016. The softer contraction in total new orders was centred on the domestic market, as new export orders fell at a pace broadly consistent with that in September.

Following a slight decline in September, staff numbers in the Lebanese private sector were broadly stable in October before the waves of demonstrations. In fact, employment has been little-changed in five of the past six months.

Despite virtually unchanged workforce numbers, capacity pressures continued to ease in October as backlogs of work fell for the fifty-second month in a row. That said, the pace of reduction decelerated to the slowest since January 2016.

On the cost front, overall input prices faced by Lebanese businesses increased in October. The rate of inflation was little-changed from September and only marginal. Underlying data pointed to increases in both paid prices and wages.

Firms opted not to pass on higher costs to their clients and instead cut average output charges for the twentieth month in a row. The rate of reduction was slightly quicker than in the previous survey period but remained modest overall.

Finally, firms remained pessimistic towards the one-year business outlook in October. However, the degree of negativity eased to the weakest since April.

-Ends-

For further information, please contact:
BLOMINVEST Bank:
Marwan Mikhael, Head of Research
Telephone +961-173-7247
Fax +961-175-1953
Email marwan.mikhael@blominvestbank.com 

IHS Markit:
Eliot Kerr, Economist                                                                                  
Telephone +44-203-159-3381                                                                
Email eliot.kerr@ihsmarkit.com                                                                

Katherine Smith,
Corporate Communications     
Telephone +1-781-301-9311
Email Katherine.smith@ihsmarkit.com      

The BLOM Lebanon Purchasing Managers’ Index™ is based on data compiled from monthly replies to questionnaires sent to purchasing executives in approximately 400 private sector companies, which have been carefully selected to accurately represent the true structure of the Lebanese economy, including manufacturing, services, construction and retail. The panel is stratified GDP and company workforce size. Survey responses reflect the change, if any, in the current month compared to the previous month based on data collected mid-month. For each of the indicators the ‘Report’ shows the percentage reporting each response, the net difference between the number of higher/better responses and lower/worse responses, and the ‘diffusion’ index. This index is the sum of the positive responses plus a half of those responding ‘the same’.

The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI®) is a composite index based on five of the individual indexes with the following weights: New Orders - 0.3, Output - 0.25, Employment - 0.2, Suppliers’ Delivery Times - 0.15, Stock of Items Purchased - 0.1, with the Delivery Times index inverted so that it moves in a comparable direction.

Diffusion indexes have the properties of leading indicators and are convenient summary measures showing the prevailing direction of change. An index reading above 50 indicates an overall increase in that variable, below 50 an overall decrease.

IHS Markit do not revise underlying survey data after first publication, but seasonal adjustment factors may be revised from time to time as appropriate which will affect the seasonally adjusted data series. Historical data relating to the underlying (unadjusted) numbers, first published seasonally adjusted series and subsequently revised data are available to subscribers from IHS Markit. Please contact economics@ihsmarkit.com 

About BLOMINVEST BANK

BLOMINVEST BANK, established in 1994, is the investment arm of BLOM Bank SAL, one of the largest banks in Lebanon. As part of its expansionary vision towards the MENA region, the bank has established one investment arm in Saudi Arabia, “BLOMINVEST KSA” and launched three brokerage and trading firms in Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, namely “BLOM Bank Egypt Securities”, “Syria and Overseas for Financial Services”, and “Financial Services Experts Company”. BLOMINVEST BANK is one of few institutions within the greater Levant region that offer Private banking, Investment banking, Asset Management, Brokerage, and Research services under one roof. Based on its track record, BLOMINVEST BANK to date remains the most awarded local investment bank. For more information, see www.blominvestbank.com 

About IHS Markit ( www.ihsmarkit.com )

IHS Markit (NYSE: INFO) is a world leader in critical information, analytics and solutions for the major industries and markets that drive economies worldwide. The company delivers next-generation information, analytics and solutions to customers in business, finance and government, improving their operational efficiency and providing deep insights that lead to well-informed, confident decisions. IHS Markit has more than 50,000 business and government customers, including 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and the world’s leading financial institutions.

IHS Markit is a registered trademark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates. All other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners © 2019 IHS Markit Ltd. All rights reserved.

About PMI

Purchasing Managers’ Index™ (PMI®) surveys are now available for over 40 countries and also for key regions including the eurozone. They are the most closely-watched business surveys in the world, favoured by central banks, financial markets and business decision makers for their ability to provide up-to-date, accurate and often unique monthly indicators of economic trends. To learn more go to https://ihsmarkit.com/products/pmi.html .

The intellectual property rights to the BLOM Lebanon PMI® provided herein are owned by or licensed to IHS Markit. Any unauthorised use, including but not limited to copying, distributing, transmitting or otherwise of any data appearing is not permitted without IHS Markit’s prior consent. IHS Markit shall not have any liability, duty or obligation for or relating to the content or information (“data”) contained herein, any errors, inaccuracies, omissions or delays in the data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.  In no event shall IHS Markit be liable for any special, incidental, or consequential damages, arising out of the use of the data. Purchasing Managers’ Index™ and PMI® are either registered trade marks of Markit Economics Limited or licensed to Markit Economics Limited. BLOMINVEST Bank use the above marks under licence. IHS Markit is a registered trade mark of IHS Markit Ltd. and/or its affiliates.

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© Press Release 2019

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