imageEconomic Indicators15 hours ago (Mar 24, 2020 04:37AM ET)

(C) Reuters. French Economic Activity Collapses on Coronavirus Containment

(Bloomberg) — France’s economy is in a record downturn as sweeping measures to contain the coronavirus pandemic shut down businesses and force consumers to stay home.

IHS Markit’s monthly gauge of manufacturing and services activity plummeted to the lowest since the series began in 1998, it said on Tuesday.

GDP in the euro area’s second-largest economy is “collapsing at an annualized rate approaching double digits,” according to IHS economist Eliot Kerr.

France has largely been on lockdown for more than a week, and President Emmanuel Macron has warned that the country is only at the start of its crisis. He has urged people to strike a balance between staying home and keeping the country as the government plans huge spending to cushion the blow from the outbreak.

Markit’s composite purchasing managers index fell to 30.2 in March from 51.9 a month earlier, with the services sector hit hardest. Companies cut staffing for the first time in almost three-and-a-half years.

(C)2020 Bloomberg L.P.

French Economic Activity Collapses on Coronavirus Containment

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