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Eurozone business activity reports biggest monthly fall ever

Eurozone business activity report biggest monthly fall ever

European business activity recorded the worst monthly drop on record in March, due to shutdowns and lockdowns to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The final Composite PMI, including both manufacturing and services sectors, fell to 29.7 in March, the lowest on record, from a preliminary of 31.4. That was a sharp fall from February’s reading of 51.6.

“The data indicate that the eurozone economy is already contracting at an annualized rate approaching 10%, with worse inevitably to come in the near future,” HIS Markit report said. “The service sector is currently seeing an especially severe impact from the COVID-19 outbreak.”

The euro area services PMI recorded 26.4, where the lowest reading among the euro area was recorded in Italy at 17.4, as the travel, tourism, restaurants and other leisure activities were hit hard by the measures adopted to contain the virus spread.

As of 08:20 GMT, the euro extended its losses for a fifth straight session at $1.0798, set for a weekly loss, ahead of the release of the U.S. non-farm payrolls figures later in the day.

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