Emerging slowdown sparks concern
A decline in economic indicators in key emerging markets may portend a cyclical slowdown just as the developing world may be recovering
Sentiment towards emerging markets continues to decline just as the developed world finally appears to be recovering, according to market analysts.
HSBC this week published April numbers for two indicators: its Emerging Market Index, derived from purchasing manager index (PMI) surveys, and its Emerging Market Future Output Index, which is broadly a gauge of sentiment.
Both fell the first signalling a slowdown in economic growth in global emerging markets to the weakest level for one and a half years, and the second to its lowest level since September.
All four BRIC nations are struggling to varying degrees. Three of the four registered slower output growth in April, particularly China, with Brazil the only exception.
Pablo Goldberg, HSBCs global head of EM Research, told Emerging Markets the outlook varied between economies. If you look at fundamentals, there are nuances between countries, he said.
China has disappointed, although suggestions were too bullish to start with. Mexico is slowing, but is not far from what was expected. Some countries, like the Asean countries, have done better than expected, as has Korea, and Russia.
Its a mixed picture. But its true that on a growth basis, emerging markets are entering a cyclical slowdown. This has been reflected in far weaker performance in emerging market equities than their developed world peers.
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Neil Shearing, chief emerging markets economist at Capital Economics, agreed a cyclical shift was taking place. Weve got used to this period whereby emerging market growth continued to strengthen and the developed world started to struggle, he said. The tables have turned a little, certainly since the start of the year.
Partly this is a consequence of the considerable improvements in the US economy, and rising optimism about Europe, he said, adding: Data from emerging markets have been disappointing, really. We saw growth slow through the first half of 2012, and though it picked up in the second half, it then started to slow again.
Shearing attributes the worsening emerging markets numbers to weaker growth in Latin America and in all four BRICs, as well as weaker growth in emerging Europe. There are a few parts that seem to be doing quite well Africa, south-east Asia but by and large there is a broad-based decline.
The BRICs will drive momentum and sentiment, he said, because these four economies have been responsible for about a quarter of global GDP growth over the last decade, but each of them are now running into structural problems.Within emerging Europe, economists noted a divergent range of challenges: Turkey accelerating; Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary suffering with Europe; and Russia facing slowing growth combined with rising inflation.
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