BRIC Services PMIs For January: Some Rays Of Hope

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Includes: BIK, BKF, EEB, EMDD
by: Constantin Gurdgiev

In the previous two posts, I covered

  • Russian Services and Composite PMIs: see detailed discussion here and
  • China Services and Composite PMIs here.

Now, let's take a look at the Services PMIs for all BRIC economies, followed by a post on their Composite PMIs.

Russian Services PMI for January 2016 came in with a hugely disappointing reading of 47.1 from already poor 47.8 recorded in December. On a 3-month average basis, the index is now at 48.2, worse than already poor 49.4 average for the 3 months through October 2015, although, as expected - well above the abysmal 44.7 average for the 3-month period through January 2015. The Services sector has now posted sub-50 PMI readings in 4 consecutive months, with deteriorating readings in 3 consecutive months, signalling no respite to the Services sector contraction.

China Services PMI came in at a surprising uplift in January, reaching 52.4 - the highest reading since August 2015, and up on 50.2 in December. This move was surprising since Chinese services PMI has been deteriorating every month from October 2015. As a reminder, the downturn in the manufacturing sector hit Chinese Manufacturing PMI hard with the index falling to a 3-month low in January and staying below 50.0 line of zero growth for 11 months in a row.

Brazil Services PMI remained the weakest of all BRIC economies at 44.4 in January, up on a truly abysmal 43.5 in December. 3-month average for Brazil Services PMI was at 44.5, which is somewhat better than 43.2 average for the 3-month period through October 2015, but worse than 48.7 3-month average through January 2015. Brazil's Services PMIs have now been below 50 line for 11 months in a row.

According to Markit:

Current downturn longer than 08-09 crisis… Activity decreased in all six monitored categories, with the quickest contraction seen at Renting & Business Activities. Leading services output to fall was another decline in incoming new work. Inflows of new business dipped at a softer pace, but one that remained sharp." As in the case with Russian economy, inflationary pressures, primarily driven by currency devaluations, have created adverse headwinds for Services sector firms in Brazil. "January data pointed to a build-up of inflationary pressures in Brazil's service economy. A weaker currency (particularly against the US dollar) combined with higher utility bills had reportedly resulted in an overall increase in cost burdens. The rate of inflation climbed to a three-month high and was well above the long-run series trend. As a consequence, service providers raised their average tariffs again, and at the fastest pace since October."

Brazil's economy not only is continuing to contract, but remains the weakest of all BRIC economies, in Services sector terms since April 2015.

India Services PMI posted an impressive rise from already rather robust 53.6 in December to 54.3 in January 2016. The 3-month average has reached 52.7 in the period through January 2016, which is stronger than 52.1 recorded for the period through October 2015 and ahead of 52.0 3-month average through January 2015. Overall, this was the highest Services PMI reading for India since January 2013 and marks the second consecutive month of PMIs acceleration. With this, Indian economy clearly has shaken off some of the downward momentum on growth that was building up in May-September 2015 and again roared its head in November 2015.

Per Markit:

Posting a 19-month high… Services Business Activity Index pointed to a marked and accelerated expansion of activity across the sector. Growth was noted in four of the six monitored categories, the exceptions being Hotels & Restaurants and Transport & Storage. Underpinning the overall increase in services output was a seventh successive monthly expansion of new business inflows. Having accelerated to the joint-fastest since June 2014, the growth rate was marked. Anecdotal evidence highlighted strengthening underlying demand and improved weather conditions."

Overall, January marks the second month of India's Services PMI leading other BRIC economies to the upside.

Chart and summary table to illustrate: