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Expand chart
Data: Investing.com; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

Manufacturing data released Thursday was weak all over the globe, signaling slowing international commerce.

Why it matters: "After global GDP was stronger than expected in Q1, the continued weakness in the latest business surveys among advanced economies suggests that the world economy will lose steam in the second quarter," economists at Capital Economics wrote in a note to clients.

  • Brett Ryan, senior U.S. economist at Deutsche Bank, warns, "Any potential negative fallout from the latest escalation of trade tensions is likely to first show up in the PMIs, which have traditionally been leading indicators of capital spending."

What's happening: The preliminary U.S. manufacturing purchasing managers' index (PMI) fell to 50.6, the lowest reading since 2009. An early reading on Japanese manufacturing PMI fell into contraction as export orders fell at the fastest pace in 4 months.

But perhaps the worst news came from the eurozone where readings on manufacturing have been in contraction since February and have missed economists' expectations in every month except March.

  • Eurozone manufacturing PMI fell again this month, and Ifo Institute for Economic Research President Clemens Fuest now says, "there is reason to worry."

Go deeper: Markets worldwide decide it's time to panic

Go deeper

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions

Photo: Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled late Wednesday that restrictions previously imposed on New York places of worship by Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) during the coronavirus pandemic violated the First Amendment.

Why it matters: The decision in a 5-4 vote heralds the first significant action by the new President Trump-appointed conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett, who cast the deciding vote in favor of the Catholic Church and Orthodox Jewish synagogues.

USAID chief tests positive for coronavirus

An Air Force cargo jet delivers USAID supplies to Russia earlier this year. Photo: Mikhail Metzel/TASS via Getty Images

The acting administrator of the United States Agency for International Development informed senior staff Wednesday he has tested positive for coronavirus, two sources familiar with the call tell Axios.

Why it matters: John Barsa, who staffers say rarely wears a mask in their office, is the latest in a series of senior administration officials to contract the virus. His positive diagnosis comes amid broader turmoil at the agency following the election.

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
11 hours ago - Health

COVID-19 shows a bright future for vaccines

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Promising results from COVID-19 vaccine trials offer hope not just that the pandemic could be ended sooner than expected, but that medicine itself may have a powerful new weapon.

Why it matters: Vaccines are, in the words of one expert, "the single most life-saving innovation ever," but progress had slowed in recent years. New gene-based technology that sped the arrival of the COVID vaccine will boost the overall field, and could even extend to mass killers like cancer.