Nigeria: PMI eases in March
Operating conditions in the private-sector economy continued to improve at the close of the first quarter, albeit at a softer pace. The Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) eased to 54.1 in March from 57.3 in February. This marked the 21st consecutive month of improving business conditions, with the index remaining above the neutral 50-threshold that separates an overall improvement from a deterioration in operating conditions.
The headline moderation was driven by softer growth in output and new orders, greater price pressures, and cash shortages weighing on business orders. Nonetheless, job creation continued to grow amid robust business inflows and output requirements; employment rose for the 14th month straight. Worries over input shortages and a further rise in prices drove strategic purchasing activity. Input costs rose again in the month due to increasing wages, and costlier fuel and raw materials. Consequently, output prices were raised. Lastly, business confidence rose on the back of solid output expectations for the year ahead.