The flash Markit/HSBC Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) fell to 48.1 in March, compared with a final reading of 48.5 in February. This is an eight-month low for the measure.
The number also came in lower than market expectation of 48.7. A number below 50 signals contraction.
January was the first time the measure dropped below 50 since July 2013.