Turkey’s Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) was at 48.1 this March, down from 52.4 in February, posting below the 50 no-change mark for the first time in three months, with the COVID-19 outbreak named as the main culprit.

According to the Istanbul Chamber of Industry PMI Manufacturing Index report, prepared in cooperation with London-based global data firm IHS Markit, output and new orders both softened, while firms scaled back purchasing activity.

“On a positive note, employment continued to increase,” the report said.

Difficulties in the sector were overwhelmingly attributed to the coronavirus outbreak, which resulted in moderations of both output

Read more: Turkey: PMI falls to 48.1 due to COVID-19 outbreak