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China’s economy may be headed for deeper contraction on factory drop

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China’s economy could be heading for a worse-than-expected first-quarter contraction after the country’s manufacturing sector reported activity was at a record low in February due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The manufacturing purchasing managers’ index plunged to 35.7 in February from 50 the previous month, according to data released by the National Bureau of Statistics on Saturday.

Even before that data, the median forecast was that the economy would shrink in the three months through March from the last quarter of 2019, and the surprisingly weak data prompted further cuts to that view.
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