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India Manufacturing Sector Contracts On COVID-19 Pandemic

India's manufacturing conditions deteriorated sharply in April, as nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the coronavirus, or covid-19, led to business closures, survey results from IHS Markit showed on Monday.

The headline IHS Markit manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index, or PMI, decreased to 27.4 in April from 51.8 in March.

This was the sharpest deterioration since the survey began over fifteen years ago. Any reading below 50 indicates contraction in the sector.

The decline was partially driven by an unprecedented contraction in output in April.

New orders fell for the first time in two-and-a-half years and new export orders declined as total new business received no support from international markets.

Foreign sales fell at a quicker rate in April and the rate of decline accelerated to the fastest since the survey began.

Employment was reduced due to the deteriorating demand conditions. This was the quickest in the survey history. The purchasing activity decreased as firms reduced input buying at a record pace in April.

Backlogs of work fell sharply in April, with the rate of contraction accelerating to the fastest on record.

The input delivery time lengthened in April, deteriorating to the steepest in vendor performance since the survey began in 2005.

Input prices dropped in April and the rate of reduction was the fastest in the survey history. Output prices decreased in the start of the second quarter amid lower cost burden.

Sentiment regarding the 12-month outlook for production rose from March's record low, hopping that demand will rebound once the COVID-19 threat has diminished and lockdown restrictions eased.

"After making it through March relatively unscathed, the Indian manufacturing sector felt the full force of the coronavirus pandemic in April," Eliot Kerr, an economist at IHS Markit, said.

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