(Bloomberg) --

Turkish manufacturers’ confidence in the economy has plunged the most since the 2008 global financial crisis, the first key piece of data reflecting the coronavirus’s toll on local businesses.

With 44 people dead and nearly 1,900 infected, manufacturers’ outlook turned pessimistic after five straight months of optimism. The seasonally adjusted index maintained by the central bank dropped 8.2 points to 98.6 in March. Values under 100 indicate pessimism.

Manufacturers’ capacity utilization rate also slumped, the central bank data showed on Wednesday.

The government has shut down almost 200,000 businesses to try to slow the spread of the virus, while announcing a slew of financial aid measures to keep companies from cutting jobs, including tax cuts and payment deferrals.

Education Minister Ziya Selcuk and Health Minister Fahrettin Koca are expected to extend a school closure at their televised news conference later Wednesday.

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