June 26, 2015 / 4:28 AM / in 2 years

HSBC ends marketing tie-up with Markit for PMI indices

A logo of HSBC is displayed outside a branch at the financial Central district in Hong Kong, China June 2, 2015.Bobby Yip

SHANGHAI/HONG KONG (Reuters) - HSBC (HSBA.L)(0005.HK) has ended its marketing tie-up with financial information firm Markit Ltd MRKT.O, both companies told Reuters on Friday, winding up a five-year relationship.

The two firms said HSBC had ended its sponsorship of the closely watched China Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) and other emerging markets indexes compiled by Markit.

Both described the cooperation as a success, and neither gave a specific reason for ending the arrangement.

"The sponsorship arrangement is now coming to an end and we will announce replacement sponsors soon," said Laura Davis, a Singapore-based spokeswoman for Markit in an emailed statement.

Several banking sources said Markit had been seeking other sponsors around Asia to replace HSBC, but some said the price tag may be too high.

Another disincentive could be the association with an indicator that frequently contradicts the official manufacturing

PMI, they added.

China's economic growth has slowed, and markets are closely watching for any signs of fluctuation in the trajectory of the world's second largest economy.

One source familiar with the matter said the decision by HSBC to end the arrangement was a commercial one and not politically motivated.

The source said that the sponsorship had already achieved its objective of building the profile of Europe's biggest bank in emerging markets.

HSBC is also winding up its sponsorship of Markit indexes covering other countries, implying that other factors were at play. HSBC produces its own branded research reports on economic trends around the world.

While the results compiled by Markit differ from official indicators, so does the survey pool, possibly explaining discrepancies.

The HSBC/Markit report tended to focus on smaller and mid-sized companies, while the official survey reflected activity at larger, often state-owned firms.

HSBC announced earlier in June that it would eliminate 50,000 jobs, slashing its headcount by nearly a fifth, in order to combat sluggish growth.

Additional reporting by Lawrence White and Kevin Yao in BEIJING and Matt Scuffham in London; Editing by Mike Collett-White and Jon Boyle

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