China’s manufacturing plunged in February by an even wider margin than expected after efforts to contain a virus outbreak shut down much of the world’s second-largest economy, an official surveyed showed Saturday. The survey, coming as global stock markets fall on fears the virus will spread abroad, adds to mounting evidence of the vast cost of the disease that emerged in central China in December and its economic impact worldwide. The monthly purchasing managers’ index issued by the Chinese statistics agency and an industry group fell to 35.7 from January’s 50 on a 100-point scale on which numbers below 50 indicate activity contracting. A sub-measure of imports plummeted, highlighting the shock waves spreading through China’s Asian neighbors and other suppliers of components and raw materials to its factories, which assemble most of the world’s smartphones, toys, home appliances and other consumer goods. “Supply chains are likely […]