The S&P Global Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI), which measures business activity in the non-oil private sector, dropped to 46.7 in March, down from February’s 46.9.
As such, the index moved further below the 50.0 no-change thresholds, where it has been mired since November 2020. The reading signaled a steeper deterioration in private sector operating conditions from the previous month.
March’s downtick was chiefly due to a sharp contraction in new orders as steep inflationary pressures dampened client demand. This, coupled with difficulty securing key inputs due to import controls and currency restrictions, led to a marked fall in output levels. These developments prompted firms to cut employment levels for the fourth consecutive month in March. More positively, the services economy experienced the first improvement in activity since August 2021.