Coronavirus Sends Spain's Manufacturing PMI To Near Seven-Year Low
Spain's manufacturing sector shrank at its steepest pace in almost seven years last month, hit by the coronavirus pandemic and restrictive measures imposed at home and abroad to stem its spread, a survey has shown.
IHS Markit's Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) of manufacturing companies sank to 45.7 in March from 50.4 a month earlier. The February reading had been the first above the 50 line separating growth from contraction since May.
As output recorded its steepest fall since June 2012, at the peak of the euro zone's debt crisis, confidence about the future sank to record lows, IHS Markit said. The employment index plummeted to its lowest since November 2013.
"Manufacturers faced not only rapidly declining sales from around the world, but also struggled to source inputs, with average lead times deteriorating to the greatest degree in over 22 years of data collection," IHS Markit Economics Director Paul Smith said.
He added that it was still uncertain how profound and long the downturn caused by the coronavirus will be, as the most affected countries are still struggling to stop it.
Spain is second only to Italy in Europe in the number of coronavirus fatalities recorded.
This week, it toughened restrictions in place since March 14 aimed at curbing the spread of the virus, asking all non-essential workers to stay at home.
The lockdown has closed all but essential shops such as supermarkets and pharmacies, causing the euro-zone's fourth largest economy to come virtually to a halt.
A flood of factory closures and massive, temporary layoffs, have prompted the Spanish government to launch a 200 billion euro package to help companies and families and ask the European Union for a coordinated and compelling response.