Emerging Markets: Selectivity needed

Stephane Colliac
Stephane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa

Growth in the manufacturing sector kept on landing in Emerging Markets (EM) in June. Our aggregate Manufacturing PMI eased to an 11-month low of 51.0 points. Obviously, there were two shocks at the same time. First, higher oil prices hit EM oil importers and capital flow reversals hit the most vulnerable EM. Our EM oil importers aggregate PMI fell to 50.7 in May and was unchanged at this low level in June (down from 54.2 at end-2017). At the same time, our Fragile 4 (Brazil, Mexico, South Africa, Turkey) index fell below the 50.0-neutrality threshold (to 49.7) in June for the first time since February 2017. This followed weak Q1 GDP growth performances in some of them (Brazil, South Africa) and negative news since then, intertwining political risk with protests. These PMIs may well reflect some overreaction, but also signal a risk of some months of negative growth, particularly in Turkey where the exchange rate crisis had a sizeable impact on inflation and in Brazil where political uncertainty is still considerable.