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Emerging-Market Economic Growth Stays Sluggish, HSBC Says

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Oct. 9 (Bloomberg) -- Emerging-market economic growth remains “muted” with a confidence gauge just above the threshold signaling expansion, according to HSBC Holdings Plc.

The HSBC Emerging Markets Index rose to 50.8 in September from 50.7 in August, the bank said in a report published today, citing a survey of purchasing managers. That’s still the third-lowest reading in more than four years. A value above 50 indicates expansion and below 50 signals contraction. The index is compiled by London-based Markit Economics and tracks conditions at more than 5,000 companies.

The measure averaged 50.3 in the three months through September, HSBC said. That’s the least since the first quarter of 2009, when emerging markets suffered a shortage of investment and credit in the wake of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s bankruptcy. Among the largest emerging economies -- so-called BRICs -- Brazil, Russia and China posted “modest” increases in activity, while India’s reading fell for a third month and declined at the fastest pace since March 2009.

“The September PMIs show economic conditions in emerging markets are showing marginal improvement, although the data remain disappointing overall,” Pablo Goldberg, the head of global emerging markets research at HSBC in New York, said in the report. “Domestic economic conditions are still weakening in emerging markets.”

IMF Forecast

The International Monetary Fund yesterday cut its global outlook as capital outflows further weaken emerging markets, and warned that a U.S. government default could “seriously damage” the world economy. A deadlocked U.S. Congress is struggling to find a path toward raising the nation’s debt ceiling and ending a partial government shutdown.

Growth worldwide will be 2.9 percent this year and 3.6 percent next year, the IMF said in a report released in Washington. That compares with its July predictions of 3.1 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively. It sees emerging economies growing 4.5 percent this year, 0.5 percentage point less than three months ago.

Investors sold riskier emerging-market assets after the U.S. Federal Reserve signaled in June that it may begin to withdraw stimulus measures, threatening to derail a recovery. The MSCI Emerging Markets Index has fallen 4.5 percent this year, compared with a 17 percent gain for the S&P 500.

The HSBC Emerging Markets Future Output Index, which gauges company executives’ expectations for output in a year, fell in September to hold “only slightly above” June’s record low, today’s report showed.

To contact the reporter on this story: Agnes Lovasz in London at alovasz@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Balazs Penz at bpenz@bloomberg.net

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