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Don’t bet against China just yet: HSBC

Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 6:05 AM ET
Emerging market growth 'disappointing': HSBC
Tuesday, 7 Jan 2014 | 2:15 AM ET
Murat Ulgen, chief economist for Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa at HSBC, says emerging markets have been growing but growth has been "disappointing".

China is on course to buck the slowing trend of the emerging market economies and accelerate its growth rate by 2015 and improve its long-term prospects, according to a HSBC report published Tuesday.

The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), which follows the HSBC Purchasing Managers' Indexes (PMIs) in 17 emerging economies, dropped to 51.6 in December 2013, down from 52.1 in November.

China has been a worry for some investors. Growth in China's services sector slowed in December to its lowest point since August 2011, adding to signs of slowing momentum. The HSBC/Markit services sector Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) dropped to 50.9 in December from 52.5 in November.

(Read more: How to do good AND make money in emerging markets)

However, the manufacturing sector was stronger, with its growth rate only slightly weaker than November's eight-month high.

"If you look at the quarterly average, the fourth quarter was better than the third quarter and the second quarter," Murat Ulgen, HSBC's Chief Economist for Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa, told CNBC Tuesday.

He continued: "If you look at the forward-looking indicators, new orders have been growing for the past five months, although a bit slower; employment conditions continue to improve, but it was a marginal improvement. So overall, yes there is growth, emerging markets continue to grow, but it's a bit disappointing and at a slower pace."

CZQS2000 | STS | Getty Images

Ulgen told CNBC it was important not to worry about China. "We still think China can pull off 7.4 percent growth this year and 7.7 percent in 2015," he said.

"I think you should see China's slowdown in the context of policy...clearly there are sweeping structural reforms to change the composition of growth in the country from export-led to consumption-led...and this has created some excessive credit."

(Read more: Emerging market stocks that could escape 'taper tantrums')

Writing in the report, HSBC Chief Global Economist Stephen King emphasises that despite the disappointing year-end data, the prospects for the emerging world remained encouraging. "China is still engaged in an economic transition of epic proportions, catching up for hundreds of years of earlier disengagement with the rest of the world," he wrote.

"China's new found wealth will, in turn, be invested in other parts of the emerging world currently lacking in 21st Century infrastructure. Those investments will allow China easier access to the resources it craves but will also allow many emerging nations to trade more heavily with each other."

(Read more: The emerging market to watch in 2014)

Elsewhere, Ulgen stressed the resilience of central and eastern Europe, which was "piggy-backing" on the euro zone's economic recovery, with many of the countries having shed their previous imbalances.

However, a cause of concern was the Turkish economy, which had managed to come through a difficult 2013 relatively unscathed, but Ulgen felt that "because of the recent bout of political uncertainty, we think going forward there will be some weakness and slowdown in business sentiment."

Contact World Economy

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