May 4, 2020 / 7:18 AM / a month ago

Coronavirus hammers Spanish manufacturing in April: PMI

MADRID (Reuters) - Spanish factory activity shrank to its lowest level since December 2008 in April, as measures to contain the coronavirus global pandemic triggered record falls in output, new orders and purchasing, a survey showed on Monday.

IHS Markit’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) of manufacturing companies sank to 30.8 in April from 45.7 in March, the biggest drop in one month since the records started in February 1998.

Restrictions on non-essential economic activity in Spain and around the globe sparked record falls in production, new orders and exports in April, the survey showed.

“Records were broken across a number of data points ... but perhaps most worrying are developments in confidence and employment,” IHS Markit Economics Director Paul Smith said.

“Job losses occurred at a rate surpassed only during the heights of the financial crisis as firms signalled notable worries about the longer-term impact of the pandemic on demand. This leads to concerns that when the recovery out of the lockdown begins, it may prove to be much more arduous than the hoped-for swift return to pre-crisis activity levels”, he added.

Spain is starting to ease its lockdown after suffering one of the world’s worst coronavirus outbreaks. Its economy shrank by the widest margin on record in the first quarter.

Reporting by Emma Pinedo; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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