China’s industry has plummeted as never before because of the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic. The official purchasing manager index (PMI) fell in February to 35.7 points from 50.0 points in January, as the statistics office announced on Saturday. This means that the barometer is well below the 50-meter mark, from which the upward trend in business is signaled.
Analysts interviewed by Reuters had only expected a drop to 46 points in February. That would have been the lowest level since January 2009.
The coronavirus meant that goods could not be delivered or were not even produced because workers had to stay at home due to the risk of infection. Due to quarantine regulations and travel restrictions, the situation in the service sector is no better either. The barometer for this area fell to 29.6 points in February after 54.1 points in January.