COVID-19: PMI Data Shows Europe Slowdown; WHO Warns Against Complacency

(C) Reuters.

By Gina Lee, Peter Nurse and Kim Khan

Investing.com – New York state showed an infection rate from Covid-19 of nearly 14%, the governor said Thursday.

Another round of daunting economic data arrived from the U.S, with most of the numbers coming in worse than economists’ already pessimistic predictions.

Meanwhilte, economic activity in the euro zone all but ground to a halt this month as the new coronavirus sweeping across the world forced governments to impose lockdowns and firms to down tools and shut their businesses.

Americas:

U.S. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said from first phase of results from an antibody study of about 3,000 samples, preliminary estimates show a 13.9% infection rate. New York state saw 438 deaths form the infection yesterday, down from 474 the day before.

U.S. initial jobless claims jumped by another 4.4 million last week, brining the total number filing for first-time benefits to more than 26 million in the past five weeks. But the figure was down from last week’s 5.2 million, giving some hope to investors that the worst in the job market may be over.

U.S. Markit’s preliminary April services PMI plunged to a record low of 27, while its manufacturing PMI fell to 36.9. Both dropped more than forecasts.

U.S. New home sales in March tumbled more than 15% to an annual rate of 627,000.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the World Health Organization needs a structural change and the U.S. may never restore funding to the body.

Mexico The number of confirmed Covid-19 cases rose by more than 1,000 in one day for the first time on Wednesday, signaling the country’s curve is moving sharply higher.

Europe:

Germany The country’s economy suffered a deeper-than-anticipated slump at the start of the second quarter as coronavirus-related restrictions led to a collapse in demand. IHS Markit’s monthly Purchasing Managers’ Index plunged to 17.1 in April from 35 in March, the lowest since the series began 22 years ago.

Germany is still at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic and will have to live with it for a long time, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday.

“We are not living in the final phase of the pandemic, but still at the beginning,” she told the Bundestag lower house of parliament.

Germany All of the country’s states have announced plans to make face masks compulsory to combat the spread of coronavirus, with Bremen becoming the final federal region to back the measures.

Mask use will be compulsory on public transport throughout Germany, and nearly all states will also make face coverings mandatory when shopping.

France Economic activity shrank at a record pace in April, with IHS Markit’s monthly measure of service and manufacturing activity dropping to 11.2 from 28.9 in March.

France A country-wide lockdown is still reducing economic activity by 35% from normal levels despite a slight pick-up in the industrial and construction sectors, the INSEE official statistics agency said on Thursday.

Sweden Confidence levels plunged to record lows in April, with the overall economic tendency survey sinking to 58.6, amid concerns that the coronavirus pandemic may push the Nordic region’s biggest economy into its worst recession since World War II.

Italy A “strong rebound” in output in the third quarter of the year and significant growth in 2021 is likely, said Economy Minister Roberto Gualtieri in the newspaper la Repubblica, after an exceptional contraction due to the restrictions imposed to fight the coronavirus.

U.K. Businesses reported an historic collapse in demand in April during the nationwide lockdown. The IHS Markit/CIPS Flash UK Composite Purchasing Managers’ Index fell to a new record low of 12.9 from 36.0 in March.

U.K. The country’s poor novel coronavirus testing capacity means that it is likely to be one of the world’s laggards to exit the stringent lockdown that has so badly hammered its consumption-based economy, Deutsche Bank (DE:DBKGn) said on Thursday.

Russia recorded 4,774 new coronavirus cases in the last 24 hours, a fall in the number of daily new cases for the third day running, bringing its nationwide tally to 62,773. Forty-two people with the virus died in the last 24 hours, pushing the death toll to 555.

Asia:

South Korea‘s gross domestic product fell by 1.4% in the first quarter compared with the previous three months, its worst contraction since 2008, the Bank of Korea reported, as the country tried to control the Covid-19 outbreak.

But the central bank added that the country’s economy grew 1.3% on a year-on-year basis.

North Korea Consumers have been panic buying food staples, according to a NK News report, which could be attributable to stricter COVID-19 measures in the capital city Pyeongyang.

Thailand‘s tourism ministry reported a 76.4% drop in tourist arrivals in March year-on-year, including a 94.2% plunge in Chinese tourists, Thailand’s largest source of visitors.

Tourism accounted for 11% of the country’s gross domestic product in 2019.