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Markit reports The COVID-19 outbreak leads to Largest Collapse in Business Activity Ever Recorded.

Key Findings

  • Flash Eurozone PMI Composite Output Index at 31.4 (51.6 in February). Record low (since July 1998).
  • Flash Eurozone Services PMI Activity Index at 28.4 (52.6 in February). Record low (since July 1998).
  • Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI Output Index(4) at 39.5 (48.7 in February). 131-month low.
  • Flash Eurozone Manufacturing PMI (3) at 44.8 (49.2 in February). 92-month low.

The eurozone economy suffered an unprecedented collapse in business activity in March as the coronavirus outbreak intensified, according to provisional PMI® survey data. At 31.4 in March, the ‘flash’ IHS Markit Eurozone Composite PMI collapsed from 51.6 in February to register the largest monthly fall in business activity since comparable data were first collected in July 1998. The prior low was seen in February 2009, when the index hit 36.2.

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The services sector was especially hard hit, notably within consumer-facing industries such as travel, tourism and restaurants. The survey’s service sector business activity index slumped just over 24 points from 52.6 in February to reach 28.4, surpassing the survey’s prior low of 39.2 (recorded in February 2009) by a wide margin.

Employment is already falling at a rate not seen since July 2009 as despair about the outlook broadens.

Mike "Mish" Shedlock