Eurozone PMI hits record lows in April, highlights extent of economic collapse

Graeme Paterson


LONDON (ICIS)–The eurozone economy suffered an unprecedented collapse in April as coronavirus lockdowns continued and global demand plummeted, analysts said on Thursday.

The flash (provisional) eurozone composite PMI (purchasing managers’ index), compiled by IHS Markit fell to a record low of 13.5 points, down from 29.7 in March.

A reading below 50.0 points shows economic contraction.

PMI’s for the manufacturing and services sectors also hit record lows, the latter bearing the brunt of lockdowns with the closure of tourism, travel and hospitality.

Manufacturing posted a record fall in production as non-essential business closed and supply chain delays kicked in.

“April saw unprecedented damage to the eurozone economy amid virus lockdown measures coupled with slumping global demand and shortages of both staff and inputs,” said IHS Markit chief business economist Chris Williamson.

“The extent to which the PMI survey has shown business to have collapsed across the eurozone greatly exceeds anything ever seen before in over 20 years of data collection. The ferocity of the slump has also surpassed that thought imaginable by most economists, the headline index falling far below consensus estimates,” he said in a statement.

Williamson said the analysts’ model which compares PMI with GDP indicated the eurozone economy contracting at a quarterly rate of approximately 7.5%.

“With large swathes of the economy likely to remain locked down to contain the spread of COVID-19 in coming weeks, the second quarter looks set to record the fiercest downturn the region has seen in recent history.”

Provisional PMI data for Germany, France and the UK showed a similar picture with indexes falling to record lows across the board.

Analysts at Oxford Economics described the magnitude of the PMI declines as “staggering”, pointing out that the lowest the index reached during the financial crisis was 36.2 points, underscoring how badly lockdown measures had hit the economy.

“Today’s PMIs are consistent with massive GDP contractions in Q2. With many lockdowns set to be eased next month, activity should start to recover in the last part of Q2. But longer-than-expected lockdowns could lead to an even deeper recession than we currently envisage,” Oxford said.



  • Flash Composite Output 13.5 (March 29.7). Record low
  • Flash Services Activity 11.7 (March 26.4). Record low
  • Flash Manufacturing Output 18.4 (March 38.5). Record low


  • Flash Composite Output 17.1 (March 35.0). Record low
  • Flash Services Activity 15.9 (March 31.7). Record low
  • Flash Manufacturing Output 19.4 (March 41.0). Record low


  • Flash Composite Output 11.2 (March 28.9). Series low
  • Flash Services Activity 10.4 (March 27.4). Series low
  • Flash Manufacturing Output 15.0 (March 35.8). Series low


  • Flash Composite Output 12.9 (March final 36.0). Survey-record low
  • Flash Services Activity 12.3 (March final 34.5). Survey-record low
  • Flash Manufacturing Output 16.6 (March final 43.9). Survey-record low

Front page picture: Paris’ deserted financial district of La Defense, 16 April Source:  Xinhua/Shutterstock


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