Reuters reports the following:
* Caxin Feb factory activity contracts at sharpest pace on record
* Output, new orders collapse to historic lows as virus jolts
* Exports and employment also in sharp contraction
* Economy paralysed by outbreak, sharp contraction seen in Q1
China’s factories were dealt a devastating blow in February as the coronavirus epidemic triggered the sharpest contraction in activity on record, a private survey showed on Monday, with the health crisis paralysing large parts of the economy.
The Caixin/Markit Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) tumbled to 40.3 last month, the lowest level since the survey began in 2004, and down sharply from the 51.1 reading in January as well as the 50-mark that separates growth from contraction.
The headline number was well off a Reuters poll forecast at 45.7 and even worse than the depths of the financial crisis in 2008-09, underlining the crippling effects of the virus across the country where authorities have imposed tough travel curbs and public health measures to contain the outbreak.