By Tuba Sahin
ANKARA (AA) - The eurozone manufacturing economy contracted sharply in March driven by COVID-19-related shutdowns, said a London-based global data company on Wednesday.
The Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for the eurozone manufacturing sector fell to 44.5 in March, its lowest level in 92 months, down from 49.2 in February, the IHS Markit data showed.
All market groups posted a deterioration in operating conditions compared to the previous month.
"Output, new orders and purchasing all fell sharply, whilst jobs were cut markedly, and supply-side constraints intensified at a record pace," it said.
Confidence about the future sank during March, reflective of worries over the short- and long-term impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on global economic activity.
Italy -- very hard hit by the virus -- saw the worst performance, amid the sharpest deterioration in operating conditions, the lowest in nearly 11 years.
It was followed by Greece, after having consistently posted the best growth in recent months.
Only the Netherlands recorded a PMI above the 50.0 no-change level in March, though growth here was marginal.
As a critical gauge of manufacturing sector health, monthly PMI indices are based on surveys and national data, and indicate growth compared to the previous month when above 50 points and contraction when below.