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Eurozone Private Sector Activity Logs Record Fall In March

The euro area private sector logged the sharpest decline on record in March as the coronavirus outbreak intensified, survey results from IHS Markit showed Tuesday.

The composite output index fell to 31.4 in March from 51.6 in February. This was the largest monthly fall in activity since data first collected in July 1998. The score was below the forecast of 38.8.

The services Purchasing Managers' Index declined to 28.4 from 52.6 in February. The expected reading was 39.0.

The manufacturing PMI slid to a 92-month low of 44.8 from 49.2 in February and also below economists' forecast of 39.0.

The March PMI is indicative of GDP slumping at a quarterly rate of around 2 percent, and clearly there's scope for the downturn to intensify further as even more draconian policies to deal with the virus are potentially implemented in coming months, Chris Williamson, chief business economist at IHS Markit said.

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