A gauge of growth momentum in China’s hi-tech industries slumped to a record low in February, as the impact of the coronavirus bit, prompting Nomura Holdings to cut its estimate for the official manufacturing gauge. The Emerging Industries Purchasing Managers’ index plunged 20.2 percentage points to 29.9 this month, according to a research firm connected to the Federation of Logistics & Purchasing. That is the lowest since the introduction of the series in January 2014, according to a research note by Nomura. The close correlation of that index with the official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index prompted Nomura to cut its February forecast for that gauge from close to 40 to as low as 30, said Lu Ting, Nomura’s chief China economist in Hong Kong. China faces setback in 5G ambitions as coronavirus leads to delays in base station installations The slump in the hi-tech industries gauge reflected the “devastating impact” of the Covid-19 epidemic after cities were locked down to prevent the virus spreading and because of a very slow return to work for the nation after the Lunar New Year holiday, Nomura said. A slower-than-expected resumption of business prompted Nomura’s Lu to cut his first quarter growth forecast to just 3 per cent. The Emerging Industries PMI is not seasonally adjusted and its average reading in January and February last year was 40, compared to an average of 56.2 for all of 2019, Nomura said. Purchase the China AI Report 2020 brought to you by SCMP Research and enjoy a 20% discount (original price US$400). This 60-page all new intelligence report gives you first-hand insights and analysis into the latest industry developments and intelligence about China AI. Get exclusive access to our webinars for continuous learning, and interact with China AI executives in live Q&A. Offer valid until 31 March 2020.