MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian manufacturing activity has sunk to a record low in April as factory closures and lockdowns in response to the coronavirus epidemic strangle production, a survey of businesses showed on Thursday.
The Markit Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for factory activity fell to 31.3 in April from 47.5 in March, falling further below the 50.0 mark dividing expansion from contraction.
Output and new orders contracted at their fastest rate since the survey began in September 1997, falling to 18.9 and 19.5 respectively.
The only time those indicators previously fell below 30 was in December 2008 at the height of the global financial crisis.
A number of firms surveyed stated that clients had cancelled or postponed orders since emergency public health measures were put in place to combat the spread of coronavirus across Europe.
“Of concern was a sharp uptick in input prices, with the rate of inflation at the fastest since the hike in VAT in early 2019,” said Sian Jones, an economist at IHS Markit, which compiles the survey.
“A depreciation of the rouble and supplier shortages drove costs higher, with some firms still partly able to pass costs on to clients.”
(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Hugh Lawson)