The Star Early Edition

Po­lit­i­cal woes hit econ­omy

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PRI­VATE ac­tiv­ity in Kenya dropped to a record low last month as pro­longed po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity ex­erted a heavy toll on the econ­omy, sur­vey data has showed. The Markit Stan­bic Bank Kenya Pur­chas­ing Man­agers’ In­dex (PMI) for man­u­fac­tur­ing and ser­vices slumped to 34.4 from 40.9 in Septem­ber. “The heated po­lit­i­cal tem­per­a­ture has chal­lenged Kenya’s pri­vate sec­tor,” said Ji­bran Qureishi, econ­o­mist for East Africa at Stan­bic Bank. Out­put has con­tracted for six straight months, the PMI showed. Qureishi said last month’s drop was the sharpest since 2014, as out­put, new or­ders and em­ploy­ment con­tracted. The re-run elec­tion won by Pres­i­dent Uhuru Keny­atta was boy­cotted by op­po­si­tion leader Raila Odinga re­sult­ing in vi­o­lent protests. The econ­omy grew 5 per­cent, short of its full year 5.5 per­cent fore­cast.

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