BRIC Services PMI 1Q 2017: Another Weak Quarter

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Reposted with permission. Original post at True Economics.
Yesterday, in my analysis of BRIC Manufacturing PMIs for 1Q 2017, I showed that 51.1 for 1Q 2017, BRIC Manufacturing PMI average came down marginally on 51.2 in 4Q 2016, although up on 49.2 reading for 1Q 2016. Russia was the only economy posting Q1 2017 Manufacturing activity in line with Global Manufacturing dynamics and BRIC as a group were exerting downward pressure on global manufacturing sector.

The news, therefore, were not great for the global manufacturing economy (stalled growth momentum in 1Q 2017), and for the BRIC economies.

Looking at Services PMIs next:

Brazil’s Services PMI for 1Q 2017 averaged at 46.4, which is somewhat better than 44.5 average for 3Q 2016 and 4Q 2016 and stronger than 40.0 average for 1Q 2016. In simple terms, Brazil’s Services activity continued to shrink and shrink rapidly in 1Q 2017, although the rate of contraction moderated. All in, Brazil’s Services PMIs have now been in sub-50 territory for 10 consecutive quarters, two quarters shorter than Brazil’s Manufacturing sector. The long-running and deep recession in Latin America’s largest economy is continuing, although there are some very fragile signs that it might come to an end in the foreseeable future, as both Manufacturing PMI (at 49.6 in March) and Services PMI (at 47.7 in March) are showing signs of recovery.

Russia Services PMI for 1Q 2017 came in at a blistering pace of 56.8, up on already significant growth in 4Q 2016 at 54.6 and significantly above 1Q 2016 reading of 50.0. All in, this is the fourth consecutive quarter of Services PMIs above 50.0, with all four quarters reading statistically significant for positive growth. Russia is leading BRIC contribution to global growth in both Manufacturing and Services sectors, judging by PMIs.

Indian Services PMI was at 50.2 in 1Q 2017, which not statistically distinct from zero growth marker of 50.0, but up on 49.3 in 4Q 2016. In 1Q 2016 the Services PMI averaged 53.6 which was positive for growth. Indian economy has been hitting some trouble waters for the last two quarters, something I remarked upon in the post covering Manufacturing PMIs linked above. While Services are showing signs of stabilisation, the recovery is not yet evident in the data and is lagging Manufacturing sector performance.

China’s Services PMI reading in 1Q 2017 disappointed those who hoped that 2016 credit explosion would set stage for a robust economic growth recovery. With Manufacturing PMI growth signal stuck at the same level in 1Q 2017 as in 4Q 2016, Services PMI reading for 1Q 2017 was actually below the 4Q 2016 reading (52.6 vs 53.0). Given that the index never once slipped below 50 in the history of the series, as well as given the moments of the underlying distribution, 52.6 reading is statistically indistinguishable from zero growth conditions. Thus, although posting the second strongest, amongst the BRIC economies, PMI reading for 1Q 2017 after Russia, Chinese Services sector was a relative negative for global growth momentum.

Chart and table below summarise some of the dynamics discussed earlier:


In summary, as shown above, global PMIs are supported to the upside only by Russian Services PMI dynamics, with Chinese Services PMIs providing virtually no momentum to global Growth, and both India and Brazil contributing negatively. Overall, thus, BRIC economies remain weak and under-perform global growth.

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