Slow start to 2015 for emerging markets

Slow start to 2015 for emerging markets

Emerging markets got off to a slow start in 2015, with Russia and Brazil the worst performers, according to HSBC.

The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI) found that the underperformance in emerging markets was driven by the weakest expansion in services activity in eight months.

The EMI is based on the purchasing managers’ index (PMI) reports of 17 emerging economies, which is compiled by financial information services provider Markit.

Markit chief economist Chris Williamson said: “The EMI signalled a disappointing rate of growth at the start of the year, consistent with emerging market GDP expanding at an annual rate of just five per cent – a far cry from the double-digit growth rates often seen prior to the financial crisis.”

Chinese growth slowed for the fourth time in five months, resulting in a significant decline in business confidence, according to HSBC.

“China’s PMI survey recorded the weakest monthly expansion for eight months, suggesting GDP growth will weaken from the 7.3 per cent rate seen in the fourth quarter,” said Mr Williamson.

But the EMI said the "main worries" are Brazil and Russia, where "ongoing declines" were seen.

“Brazil looks to have slipped back into recession and Russia – hit by sanctions and the collapse in the oil price – is seeing its steepest downturn since 2009,” he said.

The EMI also highlighted substantial growth divergences across emerging markets.

“The standout performer was Mexico, which saw the strongest manufacturing upturn of all countries covered by PMI surveys in January,” said Mr Williamson.

“Eastern European countries such as Poland and the Czech Republic were also notable in seeing robust growth,” he said.  

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