Dreary April as Bric economies dip

ALL FOUR of the Bric economies recorded some mild contraction in their private sectors last month, according to an influential survey of businesses released today.

According to HSBC’s latest emerging markets index, firms in Brazil, Russia, India and China all reported a modest drop in business activity, with scores slightly below the neutral 50 level. It is the third month of decline for Chinese firms according to HSBC, the longest period of below-50 scores in more than five years. Russia was also hit hard, with a reading of just 47.6, the worst since May 2009.

“The weakness of the survey data adds to fears that emerging market languidity will continue to act as a dampener on global economic growth in coming months. The concern is that the moribund economic picture is also broad-based, encompassing Asia, South America and Africa,” said Frederic Neumann, HSBC’s co-head of Asian economic research.

Overall, the index came in with a slightly positive figure of 50.4, buoyed by parts of the Middle East and eastern Europe. But the results from the survey are well below long-term average levels.