The HSBC Emerging Markets Index (EMI), a monthly indicator derived from Purchasing Managers' Index surveys, inched up to 50.6 in May from 50.4 in April, indicating weak output growth across global emerging markets.
While the EMI stood at 50.6 in May, the developed world's PMI was at 55.4 during the month.
"While the former (EMI) points to an ongoing languor that has plagued the emerging markets over the past year, the developed world has moved into a higher gear and is now enjoying its strongest growth for just over three years," Markit Chief Economist Chris Williamson said.
During May, the HSBC composite index for India, which maps both manufacturing and services, stood at 50.7, whereas for China it was 50.2, Brazil 49.8 and Russia 47.1. An index measure of above 50 indicates expansion.
"Disappointing performances continued to be seen across the four largest emerging markets in May. The only good news is that China and India both returned to growth, although in both cases the rate of expansion was only very weak. Brazil and Russia meanwhile continued to contract," Williamson said.
Williamson further said that "an ongoing near-stagnation means the emerging markets are, as a whole, underperforming the developed world to the greatest extent ever recorded by the PMI surveys".
New business orders across emerging market economies increased at a slightly faster pace in May. Meanwhile, employment declined further, and at the strongest rate since June 2009.
On price rise HSBC said, inflationary pressures remained subdued in May, with input price inflation unchanged from April's ten-month low. Moreover, prices charged increased at the strongest rate in five months, albeit only marginally, HSBC said.
Meanwhile, the HSBC Emerging Markets Future Output Index that tracks firms' expectations for activity over the next 12 months, fell sharply to a new low in May, with sentiment in the service sector notably weak.