Italy March services PMI 17.4 vs 22.5 expected

Andrew Cummings
April 6, 2020

Private data firm IHS Markit said on Friday its US services index - a survey-based measure of activity in industries such as communications, finance and transportation - saw its steepest one-month decline since the survey began a decade ago.

The IHS Markit/CIPS purchasing managers' index (PMI) for March shows that both sectors shrank as the worsening coronavirus pandemic brought restrictions to the UK.

German services firms shed staff at the fastest rate in nearly 23 years in March, a survey showed on Friday, giving a glimpse of the damage done to the job market as businesses close to limit the spread of coronavirus.

Data for the survey was taken between 12 and 27 March, covering the period after Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered the shutdown.

"March data captured the period before the total lockdown at the end of the month, signalling we may be at the precipice of an even deeper recession than now predicted by the PMI", said David Owen, an economist at IHS Markit.

More positively, analysts at Bank of America say the spread of Covid-19 is slowing and lockdowns should be eased from the middle of the second quarter.

"The severe impact on service sector activity in March was by no means limited to consumer-facing businesses or those directly hit by global travel restrictions".

Non-essential businesses, including bars, restaurants and gyms were told to close. The index for business activity slowed to 48 from 57.8 in February, the lowest reading since July 2009.

A reading above 50.0 marks expansion in activity, while a reading below signifies contraction.

The slump in Brazil's manufacturing sector last month was not as dramatic, PMI figures showed on Tuesday.

Russia's Services PMI is an index which indicates upwards or downwards trends in various manufacturing and service-related sectors of the economy. In normal times, when businesses are having a hard time getting supplies, it reflects strong demand, which pushes an index of supplier deliveries into positive territory. In the USA, those activities accounted for just 16% of GDP in 2017, the most recent year for which comparable figures are available.

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