Effect of COVID-19 on global economy grows as Trump lashes out against criticism

The coronavirus outbreak’s impact on the world economy grew more alarming on Saturday, even after U.S. President Donald Trump denounced criticism of his response to the threat as a “hoax” cooked up by his political enemies.

China’s manufacturing plunged in February by an even wider margin than expected after efforts to contain the virus outbreak shut down much of the world’s second-largest economy, an official survey showed Saturday.

The survey, coming as global stock markets fall on fears the virus will spread abroad, adds to mounting evidence of the vast cost of the disease that emerged in central China in December and its economic impact worldwide.

The monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group fell to 35.7 from January’s 50 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate activity contracting.

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