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Pandemic throws global economy into deeper decline

The outbreak, which has infected more than 2.6 million people and killed more than 180,000 globally, has also crippled manufacturing, shutting factories and upending supply chains. ​Meanwhile, with restaurants, bars and other leisure options closed, holidays canceled and travel restricted, the situation in the services industry was dire.

Reuters|
Last Updated: Apr 23, 2020, 03.23 PM IST
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Data from the United States later on Thursday are expected to show massive contractions in the factory and services sectors there, too.
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LONDON/TOKYO: Global economic activity all but ground to a halt this month as government-imposed lockdowns due to the coronavirus pandemic took a particularly heavy toll on the world's service industry, surveys showed on Thursday.

The outbreak, which has infected more than 2.6 million people and killed more than 180,000 globally, has also crippled manufacturing, shutting factories and upending supply chains.

Meanwhile, with restaurants, bars and other leisure options closed, holidays canceled and travel restricted, the situation in the services industry was dire.

To try and support economies reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, governments and central banks around the world have unleashed unprecedented amounts of fiscal and monetary support.

But Asia's economic woes, seen in flash purchasing managers' indexes, were echoed in surveys from Europe. Data from the United States later on Thursday are expected to show massive contractions in the factory and services sectors there, too.

In the euro zone, IHS Markit's Flash Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), seen as a good gauge of economic health, sank to 13.5, by far its lowest reading since the survey began in mid-1998 and considerably below all forecasts in a Reuters poll.

Even the most pessimistic contributor to the poll had predicted a reading of 18.0.

As countries began to shut down last month the index staged its biggest one-month fall on record in March, hurtling below the 50 mark that separates growth from contraction to 29.7.
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