Emerging Markets: Trade openness, from blessing to curse?

3 min
Stéphane Colliac
Stéphane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa

The last time Emerging Markets (EM) experienced a contraction in their manufacturing activity (2016), open economies did not suffer from it, but this time they are the most affected. Our EM aggregate manufacturing PMI was in contraction territory in August for the fourth month in a row, at 49.6 points. Looking at specific countries, our open economies index experienced the twelfth month in contraction area (48.8 in August). Meanwhile, the closed economies (with a low export to GDP ratio) PMI never fell below 50 during the last year (50.6 in August). The protectionist moves in the US-China rivalry has clearly impacted open economies more than others. Difficulties in the car and electronics sectors added to that, also affecting open economies involved in supply chains (Eastern Europe in the German car value chain, Eastern Asia mainly affected through electronics and petrochemicals). In Hong Kong, the PMI dropped heavily to 40.8 in August (now close to the trough experienced in 2008), increasing the risk of a broad recession.