Russian services sector shrinks at fastest pace in 11 years in March -PMI

Credit: REUTERS/EVGENIA NOVOZHENINA

MOSCOW, April 3 (Reuters) - Russia's services sector shrank at the fastest rate in 11 years in March as the coronavirus outbreak hammered new business at home and abroad, a business survey showed on Friday.

The Markit Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) for services fell to 37.1 in March from 52.0 in February, tumbling below the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction for the first time in nine months.

"Demand for Russian services fell at the fastest pace since the financial crisis as domestic and foreign customers reduced new order placements," said Sian Jones, economist at IHS Markit.

Business confidence took a sharp hit, with the related subindex slumping to 35.2 in March from 61.7 in February, its lowest point since October 2001.

Employment fell at the fastest rate since January 2016 as firms shed staff.

With the coronavirus outbreak still wreaking havoc across markets and economies worldwide, the outlook remained negative.

"Our current forecast signals broad stagnation across the Russian economy in 2020, with contractions expected in the middle quarters of the year," said Jones.

A parallel survey on Wednesday showed activity in the manufacturing sector shrank in March for the 11th straight month.

- Detailed PMI data are only available under licence from IHS Markit and customers need to apply for a licence.

To subscribe to the full data, click on the link below: https://www.ihsmarkit.com/about/contact-us.html

For further information, please phone IHS Markit on +800 6275 4800 or email economics@ihsmarkit.com

(Reporting by Alexander Marrow; Editing by Hugh Lawson)

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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