BeijingActivity in Chinese manufacturing and services simultaneously contracted in March for the first time since the height of the country’s Covid-19 outbreak in 2020, adding to the urgency for more policy intervention to stabilize the economy.

The official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 49.5 from 50.2 in February, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) said on Thursday, while the non-manufacturing PMI eased to 48.4 from 51.6 in February.
The last time both PMI indexes simultaneously were below the 50-point mark that separates contraction from growth was in February 2020, when authorities were racing to arrest the spread of the coronavirus, first detected in the central Chinese city of Wuhan.
 
 
The world’s second-largest economy revved up in January-February, with some key indicators blowing past expectations, but is now at risk of slowing sharply as authorities restrict production and mobility in Covid-hit cities, including Shanghai and Shenzhen.
 

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