India expanded at a faster rate than China in February even as emerging market economies witnessed a moderation in economic growth, an HSBC survey said on Wednesday.
The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), a monthly indicator derived from the PMI surveys, fell from 53.8 in January to 52.3 in February. This is the lowest figure since August 2012 and indicated a moderation in economic growth in global emerging markets.
During February, the HSBC composite index for India, which maps both manufacturing and services sectors, stood at 54.8, whereas for China it was 51.4.
An index measure of above 50 indicates expansion.
Among the largest economies covered, growth rates slowed in China, India and Brazil in February, but India expanded more than China.
"Emerging Market economies continued to expand in February but the pace of growth lost steam. The slowdown appears to be broad-based across manufacturing and services, with BRIC activity moderating after a promising start to the new year," HSBC Chief Economist, Central and Eastern Europe and Sub-Saharan Africa Murat Ulgen said.
All four BRIC economies -- Brazil, Russia, India and China -- registered slower increases in new business since January. Moreover, employment also rose at the weakest rate in three months, HSBC said.
The February EMI report suggests that there has been a softening in new orders across the BRIC economies and particularly for new export orders in manufacturing industry.
"The fall in the index shows that for now growth is still the big issue for emerging markets and that for many economies, inflation is set to remain a secondary issue," Ulgen said.
Going ahead there can be two possibilities Ulgen said --either the emerging markets will "wobble along", buffeted by worries in the developed world or the current slowdown will prove "temporary".
"For now, we lean towards the second scenario," Ulgen said wherein "the current slowdown will prove temporary as the inventory cycle works its way through and improved underlying fundamentals bring back the days of strong growth".
Meanwhile, business expectation for the next 12 months continue to be robust.
The HSBC Emerging Markets Future Output Index that tracks firms' expectations for activity in 12 months' time rose for the second month running in February, the report said.