New economic data shows that emerging market economies contracted in July while developed economies expanded, highlighting the unevenness of the global economic recovery from the financial crisis.
The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), a monthly indicator derived from several purchasing managers surveys (PMI), dropped to a new post-crisis low of 49.4 in July, down from 50.6 in June.
The latest figure was the first sub-50.0 reading since April 2009, and indicated an overall contraction of output in global emerging economies.
Output fell across the four largest emerging market economies - Brazil, Russia, India and China - in the first broad-based contraction since March 2009, HSBC said.
July data also highlighted the first decline in new business in global emerging markets in over four years. China, India, and Brazil all posted lower receipts of new work during the month, while growth in Russia was the slowest in nearly three years, the survey's results showed.
On the other hand are the developed economies. The Markit Eurozone Composite Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) rose to 50.5 in July from 48.7 in June. This is the first time since January 2012 the index has shown a reading above the neutral 50.0 mark.
In addition, new business and employment across the combined Eurozone manufacturing and services sector saw slower declines in July.
In Japan, the July's readings of the Business Activity Index and the Composite Output Index stayed above the 50-point mark, which separates growth from contraction.
Earlier, data from the US showed that the headline manufacturing index rose to 55.4 in July from June's 50.9 reading, indicating American manufacturing had gathered steam.
"Emerging markets are not yet feeling a lift from stabilising demand in the United States, Europe, and Japan," said Frederic Neumann, HSBC's co-head of Asian economic research.
"The main risk for emerging markets at the moment is that the cyclical downturn in manufacturing and softer service sector activity will ultimately lead to a weaker job market."
The International Monetary Fund has cut its global growth forecast for the fifth time in just 15 months following a slowdown in emerging market economies and as the sovereign debt crisis weighs heavily on Europe.
The IMF also warned in its latest World Economic Outlook report, entitled Growing Pains, that growth could slow further if the US Federal Reserve decides to taper its quantitative easing programme, which could result in mass withdrawal of investments in developing countries.
A cutback in QE would raise bond yields in the US, which in turn would raise eurozone rates and suck out money from emerging markets. A sudden withdrawal of foreign funds from emerging markets could also be catastrophic. This has happened before, during the Asian and Russian financial crisis of 1997 and 1998 respectively.