HSBC's emerging markets index (EMI), based on 21 service and manufacturing sector surveys in 16 emerging economies, slipped to 53.0 in the second quarter of the year. It stood at 53.6 in the first three months of 2012.
While the indicator remains in expansion territory above the 50-mark, HSBC said growth was well below pre-crisis averages, weighed down by stuttering growth in the developed world.
"What this tells us is that emerging markets have not yet turned the corner," said Karen Ward, senior global economist at HSBC.
"We have to remind ourselves there are two forces at work: one is the domestic demand slowdown which was engineered (via rate rises) and then they had the West implode on them."
The survey results follow on recent sobering data from China and a watering down of official growth forecasts. Weak imports have cast doubt on the strength of domestic demand to sustain growth even as Europe's debt crisis threatens to drag down global economic activity for years to come.
Reuters polls forecast China grew 7.6 per cent in the second quarter versus the same three months a year ago. That would mark the slowest quarter of expansion since the three months to March 2009, at the depths of the global financial crisis.
"The West hasn't managed to provide a stable backdrop so once again we are worried about hard landings and how weak these economies are becoming now that exports are falling," Ward said.
Moreover, the survey reveals a two-speed growth picture, within the developing world, with Brazil and China expanding more slowly than India and Russia, the other two members of the BRIC quartet of big developing economies.
That was especially so in manufacturing, with Chinese factory output declining for the fourth straight quarter while Brazilian manufacturing fell back into contraction after improving in the January-March period.
Even Poland, the only European Union state to escape recession in the post-Lehman period, saw production fall for the first time since the global crisis.
With developed economies in trouble, demand for goods produced by emerging market manufacturers on global markets also continued to weaken in the April to June quarter, with new export business decreasing for a second successive quarter.
Brazil and China noted declines in new export orders while Poland and the Czech Republic posted the sharpest drop, victims of the euro crisis on their doorstep.
India and Russia however enjoyed a rise in new export orders along with Turkey and South Korea.
However the subdued growth and export picture is making emerging market companies hesitant to hire new staff, the survey found. HSBC noted that a fall in employment numbers in China for the first time in 13 quarters was of particular concern.
The bright spot in the quarterly surveys has been the services sector which has stayed relatively buoyant for over a year. But services activity also grew at a sub-par rate in the second quarter, with the overall expansion among the weakest recorded in the past three years, HSBC said.
Again this reflected weakness in Brazil which posted the slowest growth in three quarters while India and Russia grew at the slowest pace since the first quarter of 2011. China however posted the strongest expansion in one-and-a-half years.
The index is calculated using PMI data produced by Markit.
Copyright @ Thomson Reuters 2012