Elsewhere in Asia, the pain was felt acutely, with the Philippines dropping to 39.7, the lowest since records began in 2016 and Vietnam slipping to 41.9, while Taiwan's PMI rose above 50.
Stocks of purchased decreased in March and the delivery of purchased items was affected by the COVID-19 widespread, with suppliers' delivery times lengthening to the second-largest extent since June 2005. Besides the hit to output from many factories simply closing their doors, the coming weeks will likely see both business and consumer spending on goods decline markedly as measures to contain the coronavirus result in dramatically reduced orders at those factories still operating.
USD/JPY: The dollar declined against the Japanese yen Wednesday as evidence mounted that the coronavirus pandemic was sending the global economy into a deep recession.
Chinese factory activity improved slightly more than expected after plunging a month earlier, its PMI showed, but growth was marginal, highlighting the intense pressure facing businesses as domestic and export demand slumps.More news: Oil falls after US crude stockpiles jump and gasoline demand slumps
While the number of infections and deaths continues to rise, some observers believe traders are getting used to the new normal, with some suggesting the worst of the stock selloffs are over. Moreover, they say that, from a global standpoint, market players are likely to see an economic contraction worse than any witnessed over the past several decades. The key now is how long it will take before the global community can bring the pandemic under control.
Meanwhile employment in the manufacturing sector fell at its fastest rate since July 2009, shortly after the financial crisis.
A jump in Chinese factory activity despite the virus-hit global economy helped keep equities markets bubbling higher, but oil prices failed to rebound convincingly from 18-year lows.
"The tankan clearly shows a sharp deterioration in business sentiment and confirms the economy is already in recession", said Yasunari Ueno, chief market economist at Mizuho Securities.More news: 'Missing link' black hole discovered by astronomers
The Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI), which reflects manufacturing activity, rose above the threshold level of 50 in March in China, indicating an improvement compared to February.
"Things are likely to get a lot worse in the months ahead", Alex Holmes at Capital Economics said in a note to clients, nothing the survey period for the PMIs likely didn't capture more recent lockdowns such as those in Malaysia and Thailand.
Nomura is also forecasting the outbreak to have driven a steep 9% annual contraction in China's gross domestic product in the first quarter.
News on the coronavirus remained grim but radical stimulus steps by governments and central banks have at least provided some comfort to economies.More news: US Coronavirus Death Toll Exceeds China’s