World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

The Sales Managers' Index: Africa

Released: November 20, 2014

Market Growth reaches a 19-month high in November

  • SMI signals faster economic activity in November
  • Business confidence continues to increase
  • Staffing levels reflect modest levels of job creation

The World Economics Sales Managers’ Index (SMI) for Africa is by far the most up-to-date monthly assessment of economic activity in the Pan-African economy.

The Headline Index (calculated from an average of the Business Confidence, Market Growth, Sales, Prices and Staffing Indexes) signalled faster economic activity in November. The Index registered 58.7, up from 58.3 in October, the fourth consecutive month of increases, and the highest level since last April.

Business Confidence
The Business Confidence Index continued to increase in November. The Index stood at 70.4, up from 70.0 in October, the fourth successive month of increases, and indicated that most of the surveyed managers across Africa continued to be confident about future business conditions.

Market Growth
The Market Growth Index rose to 59.6 in November, from 58.9 in October, the highest level since May 2013, and the fourth consecutive month of increases. This signalled that growth in the marketplace continued to expand, and that panellists are still experiencing strong levels of economic growth.

Product Sales
The Product Sales Index came in at 57.3 in November, up from 56.8 in October, the fastest pace since January 2014. The Index has been increasing for the past four months, in line with the Market Growth and Business Confidence Indexes. The index reading of 57.3 indicates that the rate of sales growth continued to climb at a robust pace.

Prices Charged 
The Prices Charged Index registered 53.8 in November, down from 54.6 in October, the lowest level since last July, when the Index was 52.4. This suggested that prices continued to rise but at a slower pace compared to the previous month.

Staffing Levels
The Staffing Index rose for the second month in a row in November to reach a value of 52.3, up from 51.1 in October. This represented the highest figure since last June, and pointed to higher but modest levels of job creation across Africa.

World Economics Chief Executive Ed Jones commented on the release:

“November’s SMI reading showed that economic activity across the African continent continued to grow at an accelerating pace. With the exception of the Prices Charged Index, all indexes registered an increase. Also, with a continuing rise in the Business Confidence and Market Growth Indexes, panellists expect to see a further increase in economic demand over the coming months.”


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A Sales Managers’ Index reading of above 50 indicates an expanding economic environment. The overall Sales Managers’ Headline Index for March (calculated from an average of the Confidence, Growth, Price and Staffing Indexes), reflects the general state of the African continent.

The Sales Managers’ Index results are calculated by taking the percentage of respondents that report that the activity has risen (“Increasing") and adding it to one-half of the percentage that report the activity has not changed (“Unchanged"). Using half of the “Unchanged" percentage effectively measures the bias toward a positive (above 50 points) or negative (below 50 points) index. An example of how to calculate a diffusion index: if the response is 40% “Increasing," 40% “Unchanged," and 20% “Reducing," the Diffusion Index would be 60 points (40% + [0.50 x 40%]). A value of 50 indicates "no change" from the previous month.

The more distant the index is from the amount that would indicate "no change" (50 points), the greater the rate of change indicated. Therefore, an index value of 58 indicates a faster rate of increase than an index value of 53, and an index value of 40 indicates a faster rate of decrease than an index value of 45. A value of 100 indicates all respondents are reporting increased activity while 0 indicates that all respondents report decreased activity.

About the Sales Managers’ Index
The Sales Managers’ Indexes are a series of new products available for Africa, Asia and the Americas, designed to raise the voice and profile of sales people throughout the world. The Sales Managers’ Indexes provide the earliest indication each and every month of the direction of economic activity, and the speed at which its markets are growing.

Sales Managers are unique as an occupational group in being really at the front line of economic activity. The Sales Manager is ideally placed to feel the first few whispers of caution in the market or to see the new green shoots of economic recovery.

The Sales Managers’ Index brings together the collective wisdom of Sales Managers and consequently produces the best and earliest source of understanding about what’s really happening in the African economy.

The Sales Managers’ Index has been developed by World Economics, a leading edge provider of original economic data. Sister products include the World Economics Journal, the World Price Index, the Global Marketing Index, as well as the China, India and Eurozone Growth Monitors

About World Economics
World Economics is an organisation dedicated to producing analysis, insight and data relating to questions of importance in understanding the world economy.

Currently our primary research objective is to encourage and assist the development of better and faster measures of economic activity. In cases where we believe we can contribute directly, as opposed to through highlighting the work of others, we are producing our own measures of economic activity.

Our work is mainly of interest to investors, organisations and individuals in the financial sector and to significant corporations with global operations, as well as governments and academic economists.

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841 days ago
Now I feel stpiud. That's cleared it up for me

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