4/3/19: BRIC Manufacturing PMI: January-February Trend

In January-February 2019, Global manufacturing PMI sunk to its lowest reading since 2Q 2016 averaging 50.7 over the first two months of the year. With it, the slowdown has also been impacting the BRIC economies, overall BRIC Manufacturing PMIs average 41.2 in 4Q 2018 based on each country share of the global GDP for 2018, below 51.83 average for Global Manufacturing PMI over the same period. In the first two months of 2019, BRIC Manufacturing PMI was around 50.8, statistically indistinguishable from the 50.7 Global PMI average.

As the chart above clearly indicates, poor BRIC performance was driven by a contraction-territory reading for China (49.1 in January-February 2019 as opposed to stagnation-signalling 50.0 in 4Q 2018), and Russia (50.5 for the first two months of 2019, against 4Q 2018 average of 51.9). In contrast, both Brazil and India outperformed BRIC and Global PMI readings. Brazil's Manufacturing PMI averaged 53.1 in the first two months of 2019 against 52.1 in 4Q 2018, while India's PMI rose to 54.1 in January-February this year against 53.4 in 4Q 2018.

All in, Manufacturing sector leading indicator suggests a major slowdown in the Global growth momentum, and some spillover of this slowdown to Russia and China.  Brazil's robust reading so far marks the fastest pace of expansion since 1Q 2010, on foot of a recovery from a very long and painful recession. India's reading is the highest since 2Q 2012. If confirmed over March and over Services PMI, this implies a major diversion of growth momentum within the BRIC group.