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RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - Business activity collapsed from Australia and Japan to Western Europe at a record pace in March, as efforts to contain the coronavirus slammed the world economy.

In the United States, business activity retreated further in March, reaching a record low as the coronavirus pandemic put pressure on the manufacturing and service sectors and reinforced economists' perception that the US economy is already in recession.

The IHS Markit said on Tuesday that its Preliminary Composite fell to a reading of 40.5 this month. This was its lowest level ever, down from 49.6 in February. A . . .

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