Those are some ugly numbers and the lowest on record. Not totally unexpected though much worse than anticipated. The February print came in much lower than the median forecast of 43 by economists surveyed by the Wall Street Journal.
China’s official manufacturing PMI dropped to 38.8 in November 2008 at the start of the global financial crisis. The composite PMI, which combines the manufacturing and services indices, dropped to 28.9 from 53.0 in January
The export order sub-index dropped to 28.7 from 48.7 in January, while imports fell to 31.9 from 49.0. The sub-index for manufacturing production nosedived to 27.8 in February from January’s 51.3, while the reading for new orders plunged to 29.3, down from 51.4 a month earlier.
The low employment sub-index illustrates the difficulty of finding and recruiting the labor, while the high input price sub-index pointed to higher costs for manufacturers due to disrupted logistics and supply chains.
Foxconn’s biggest iPhone plant has struggled to return to full production because of housing problems for workers in need of quarantine. Foxconn and other manufacturers often house workers on-site in large dormitories.
Separately, Taiwan on Saturday reported a cluster of infections in a hospital, the most significant instance of local spread of the disease since the epidemic began. The infections brought Taiwan’s count of confirmed cases to 39. – FT