Emerging Markets: Rational inattention?

3 min
St├ęphane Colliac
St├ęphane Colliac Senior Economist for France and Africa

Manufacturing activity has not shown any sign of improvement in Emerging Markets (EM) in November, except in China. There, the official manufacturing PMI increased from 49.3 to 50.2 points, triggering a higher aggregate EM index of 49.5. However, excluding China, the aggregate EM manufacturing PMI fell to 49.1 (the lowest since April 2009) from 49.2 in October. Overall, EM are still exhibiting elevated weaknesses. Political turmoil in a growing number of countries is binding. This evolution is threatening growth and deteriorating financial conditions. In Latin America, 59% of the banks said that political risk will have an impact on their future supply of credit. However, we know that an economic pickup in China can engineer a recovery in EM. But can we expect it? Not yet. In March-April, the Chinese PMI had already improved but it reversed in May. The landscape has not changed for now, and EM still face key vulnerabilities: foreign exchange reserves and capital flows should remain fickle.