Emerging Markets Output Hits Four-Year Low

Emerging markets output is growing at the weakest rate for four years, according to the HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI). The index fell to 50.6 in June, down from 51.3 in May, showing output is still growing but only just. An index below 50 signals contraction.

 

Stephen King, HSBC Group Chief Economist, said: “It is the EMI’s weakest outcome since the global financial crisis in 2008-2009 when, for a fleeting moment, the index dropped to a mere 42.”

 

The index, which covers 16 countries, was dragged down by lower manufacturing production, while there was a mild increase in services activity.

 

"Asia is feeling the pinch from jittery financial markets. The road ahead looks bumpy with manufacturing slowing further,”notes Frederic Neumann Co-Head of Asian Economic Research.

 

Manufacturing output fell marginally in China. India and Brazil both reported weak rates of growth. Output in Russia remained unchanged from May.

 

King said: “Within manufacturing most countries and regions with outcomes below 50 … were to be found in Asia.  China led the way, with manufacturing output at a modest 48.6, but India, South Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam also posted contractions.”

 

The volume of new business in the emerging markets was largely unchanged from the previous month, weighed down by a fall in manufacturing new orders. Employment rose marginally in June.

 

The HSBC Emerging Markets Future Output Index, which measures expectations a year ahead, fell in June to the lowest level in 15 months. This reflected weaker sentiment in both manufacturing and services. Business expectations generally weakened in Asia, Russia and the Middle East, but improved in Latin America and Central Europe.

 

King said that, despite the weaker EMI numbers for June, prospects for the emerging world in the longer term remained encouraging.

 

He added: “The latest setbacks should be seen primarily as ‘growing pains’.  China, in particular, will slowly be able to rebalance its economy away from exports and infrastructure towards domestic consumption, thanks to reforms affecting consumer credit and the provision of social security. As such, China should eventually act as a spur to other emerging nations.”

 

The HSBC EMI is based on national Purchasing Managers’ Index surveys of about 7,500 firms.

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