Japan PMI Services dropped to 33.8 in March, down from 46.8. The index was close to record low seen in February 2009 (33.7). PMI Composite dropped to 36.2, down from 47.0. Markit said that output fell at near record pace as coronavirus pandemic hits demand. Employment declined as operating requirements slumped. Also, business activity was expected to fall sharply over the coming 12 months.

Joe Hayes, Economist at IHS Markit, said, latest data showed that the economic impact from coronavirus pandemic “has become widespread”. The sharp fall signals “how aggressive and sudden the drop in activity has been”. The combined manufacturing and services PMI already point to “GDP contracting at an annual of around 8%”. If the outbreak were to escalate in Japan, Q2 GDP could be “poised for an annual decline in excess of 10%”.

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