Global output contracts rapidly in March

Posted on: April 6th, 2020 by PhilM

The J.P. Morgan Global Composite PMI® (all sectors including services and manufacturing) fell to 39.4 in March from a February reading of 46.1, reflecting how Covid-19 caused disruption across the global economy.

Output contracted at the sharpest rate in over 11 years, as the manufacturing downturn continued and services activity fell to the greatest extent in the PMI survey history.

New manufacturing orders contracted at the steepest rate since early 2009 and new export orders fell at the quickest rate in nearly 11 years. Employment also declined at an accelerated rate. 

China saw a marked easing in its rate of contraction, with its composite Output Index rising from 27.5 in February to 46.7 in March. It was also alone in recording any increase in manufacturing output – however, this only reflected a stabilisation from the severe downturn in February. 

The United States saw the weakest downturn of the largest developed world economies, but business activity still slumped to the greatest extent since the height of the global financial crisis. Business activity in Japan contracted at the sharpest rate since 2009 with the exception of the tsunami and earthquake crisis in 2011. With various eurozone countries stepping up measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus, the final Output PMI indicated the steepest collapse of business activity since data were first available in 1998, plunging from 51.6 to an all-time low of 29.7. The UK Composite Output Index fell from 53.0 to an all-time low of 36.0.

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