Business activity improves in October

Business activity in Uganda’s private sector rose for the thirty-third month in a row thanks to an increase in new orders, according to a survey released on Tuesday.

The Stanbic Bank Uganda purchasing managers’ index, produced by global research firm IHS Markit, rose to 56.3 in October, up from 55.7 in September and above the 50.0 mark that separates expansion from contraction.

“Ugandan companies continued to secure greater volumes of new business in October, expanding output with the help of increased staffing levels in response. Meanwhile, input costs rose again, leading to ongoing output price inflation,” said a report by IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.

“New orders expanded for the thirty-third month running, with panellists linking the rise to increased customer numbers, marketing and competitive pricing.”

Business activity in private sector companies increased as they responded to the increase in new orders, aided by a further increase in staffing levels. All five sectors covered by the survey reported a rise in both output and new orders.

Purchasing managers also reported a further increase in input costs, driven by rises in purchase prices — particularly for foodstuffs, cement, fuel and iron bars — staff costs and utility rates.

The rise in input costs saw companies increasing their output prices, save for those in agriculture. Some respondents added that they increased output prices due to improved customer demand.

The survey also showed that the private sector is upbeat about business activity over the next 12 months, with the optimism tied to improvements in demand.