UAE: Business conditions deteriorate at record pace in March
The IHS Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) slumped to a record low of 45.2 in March from 49.1 in February. As such, the index sank further below the 50-threshold, marking the third consecutive deterioration in business conditions from the previous month in the non-oil private sector.
The headline reading was driven lower amid a marked coronavirus-related impact on business activity. Output fell for the second month running, employment declined as business cut jobs, and new orders shrank at the fastest pace since records began in August 2009. On the price front, output prices extended their fall to an 18th consecutive month while input costs remained relatively stable.
Regarding the outlook, firms remained relatively downbeat, although the prospect—albeit a rapidly slimming one—of Expo 2020 taking place later this year offered a glimmer of hope amid the gloom.