Apr 16 2012
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Emerging market growth gathers pace in Q1 as manufacturing activity rebounds
JEDDAH: Emerging market output rose at its fastest rate in three quarters in Q1, 2012 as a resumption of manufacturing growth supplemented continued expansion in service activity, the SABB/HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI) shows.
Delivering some of the bounceback-ability highlighted in the previous report, the EMI rose to 53.4, from 52.4 in Q4, 2011, reflecting a sustained expansion of activity at service providers, with growth reaching a three-quarter peak. Manufacturers meanwhile saw output increase for the first time in three quarters, albeit at a marginal rate.
Consistent with the trend throughout 2011, service activity outperformed manufacturing. Underperformance in China was the main drag on manufacturing. Manufacturers in the world's second-largest economy reported reduced production for the third quarter in a row, with the pace of decline the sharpest in that sequence and the index reading measuring trends in factory output among the lowest on record.
Stephen King, HSBC's chief economist, said: "The latest HSBC EMI underlines the relative immunity of emerging nations to the economic permafrost of the developed world. Emerging nations still have many years of economic "catch-up" ahead of them, suggesting that their growth rates -- driven by continuous urbanization alongside productivity gains linked to improved access to global capital -- should remain significantly higher than in the west. They also have considerably more policy ammunition to deploy, including rate and reserve ratio cuts and, if necessary, fiscal stimulus.
"Emerging nations still have to balance the risks of too little growth against the threat -- if not yet the reality -- of commodities-driven inflation. But the outlook remains encouraging with China, India, Brazil and Mexico all set to be top ten global economies by 2050."
Robust rates of growth in service activity were recorded in Brazil (fastest in almost four years), India (three-quarter high), and Russia. Meanwhile service sector business optimism for the next 12 months was the highest in one-and-a-half years, with confidence improving across the board, albeit still at weaker levels than series averages. Service providers in Brazil were the most optimistic since Q4 2007 about the one-year business outlook.
Another quarter of input price inflation in Q1 extended the current period of rising costs to three years, although this was more pronounced in services than manufacturing and in India over China.
While firms passed on some of these charges to customers, the rate was only modest compared with rising costs. Manufacturers noted a second successive quarter of output price discounting while service providers reported a slight uptick in inflation. China was the only one of the big-four to record a reduction in overall selling prices in Q1.
The HSBC EMI is calculated using the long-established PMI data produced by global financial information services company Markit.
HSBC announced a partnership in 2009 with Markit to sponsor and produce a number of emerging market PMIs.
© Arab News 2012
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