BEIRUT — One month after reaching its highest level in a decade, the Lebanese Purchasing Managers Index (PMI), which measures business activity, has dipped below the 50-point mark, symbolically indicating a return of some pessimism on the market as a promising summer season comes to an end.
The Lebanese PMI, conducted by BlomInvest in collaboration with Markit, is compiled from surveys conducted among purchasing managers in several local businesses. Its score, calculated from their responses, indicates a decrease in activity when its value is below 50 points and vice versa. Furthermore, an index lower than that of the previous month indicates an acceleration of the decline, and vice versa.
With a score of 48.7 points, compared to 50.3 points in July, the PMI has dropped significantly, reaching its lowest level in seven months, as noted in a monthly report by BlomInvest.
Driven by a decrease in local production and new orders, the decline in PMI is linked to the combination of the end of a tourist season fueled by the spending of expatriates who came in large numbers this summer and the lack of certainty about the country's economic prospects, with the reform agenda stalled, Stephanie Aoun, a research analyst at BLOM Bank, wrote in the report.
She also noted some apprehension among economic actors regarding Wassim Manssouri's interim role as acting Banque du Liban (BDL) governor, which he took on in early August as disgraced former governor Riad Salameh left the job with no successor in place.