The euro zone's purchasing managers' index (PMI), which encompasses the industrial and services sectors, fell from 51.6 in February to the unprecedented low of 31.4 in March, amid the effects adverse effects of the coronavirus pandemic, according to data released today by IHS Markit. A reading below 50 shows contraction of activity at record pace and was well below the expectation of analysts surveyed by The Wall Street Journal, who predicted the indicator to drop to 40.

Only the zone's services PMI fell from 52.6 to the also record low of 28.4 in the period. In this case, the market projection was reduced to 40. The industrial PMI in the euro area decreased from 49.2 in February to 44.8 in March, reaching the lowest level in 92 months. However, the forecast was aiming at a higher fall, at 40 points.