U.S. Manufacturing PMI in March Declines as Coronavirus Outbreak Intensifies

02 Avril, 2020, 05:24 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • Employees wearing face masks work on a car seat assembly line at Yanfeng Adient factory in Shanghai China as the country is hit by an outbreak of a new coronavirus

The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 40.3 in March from 48.7 in February.

"Unsurprisingly, the COVID-19 pandemic had a severe impact on the Vietnamese manufacturing sector in March, with PMI data signalling the worst decline in business conditions since the survey began just over nine years ago".

That carried over into Europe and back to NY, although gains were more modest.

China's factory activity improved slightly more than expected in March after plunging a month earlier, a private business survey showed, but growth was marginal, highlighting the intense pressure facing businesses as domestic and export demand slumps.

China's yuan, however, didn't budge, reflecting analysts' broad views that a sustainable bounce in manufacturing activity looked some way off despite a slowdown in China's coronavirus infections from its peak in February. This is especially true now that much of the rest of the world has entered into lockdown.

Beijing, at great costs to the economy, had imposed draconian quarantine rules and travel restrictions to curb the pandemic that has killed more than 3,000 in the country.

Experts said that while the figure is a sign that a number of factories have started production again, it does not yet mean that China's economy is back to normal, and the ongoing shutdowns in the US and Europe will continue to test demand for Chinese products.

But as Beijing guards against a second wave of infections from overseas, the pace of business resumptions has been slow.

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US manufacturing activity in March fell at its fastest pace since August 2009 as the coronavirus outbreak in the USA has battered businesses.

A gauge for new export orders was still way below levels seen before the outbreak.

Already, Chinese exporters are seeing overseas orders being scrapped as the worldwide spike in coronavirus infections and deaths has forced numerous nation's trading partners to slow or suspend production.

"(Policymakers) have to accept the inevitable that there is a massive global pandemic here, there is an outbreak in nearly every country globally and certainly in our region, which is getting to levels that if they don't take very dramatic action, it's going to get much worse", he said.

In February, the official PMI hit a record low of 35.7.

Transport delays and shortages of raw materials led to the steepest increase in vendor lead times in the 28-year survey history, further disrupting production.

However, consumer appetite remains depressed and analysts warned the outbreak could have a lingering impact, as many people remain anxious about the possibility of new infections or fretting about job security and potential cuts to wages as the economy struggles.



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