business activity collapsed from australia and japan to Western europe at a record pace in march, as measures to contain the coronavirus hammer the world economy, with data for the united states later on tuesday expected to be just as dire.
"The coronavirus outbreak represents a major external shock to the macro outlook, akin to a large-scale natural disaster," analysts at BlackRock Investment Institute said in a note.Activity in the 19 countries that use the euro has crumbled as nations lock down to curb the spread of the disease, shuttering shops, restaurants and offices.
IHS Markit's flash composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for the euro zone, seen as a good gauge of economic health, plummeted to a record low of 31.4 in March. That was by far the biggest one-month fall since the survey began in mid-1998 and below all forecasts in a Reuters poll which gave a median prediction of 38.8. In france, services activity fell to a record low and manufacturing saw its steepest drop since the global financial crisis more than a decade ago.