Emerging Markets: What a difference a year makes

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

In January 2018, Emerging Markets (EM) open to trade (from Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America) recorded their highest aggregate Manufacturing PMI since March 2011, well in the growth territory. As President Trump began introducing protectionist rhetoric in February, this momentum faded and after the implementation of tariffs against China, the aggregate PMI of open economies went into negative territory in September (49.9 points). In November, this PMI decreased to a new low of 48.8, a level not observed since the great recession about ten years ago. This negative sentiment is broad-based, since 65% of the countries in the sample is now in negative territory. Along with Asian trade hubs, Mexico and Poland are now below 50. In Poland this is the first time since September 2014, with continued weak new export orders. At the same time, financially vulnerable EM took some relief, particularly Brazil and South Africa. However, Turkey remained the weakest in the loop as markedly higher inflation is now a drag on the economy.