World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

World Economics - Insight , Analysis and Data

The Sales Managers' Index: Africa

Released: December 18, 2014

Product Sales Index climbs to an 11-month high in December

  • SMI signals only a fractional rise in activity in December
  • Business confidence rises for the fifth consecutive month
  • Staffing levels continue to rise at a modest pace

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 only a fractional increase in economic activity in December. The Index posted 58.8, up from 58.7 in November, the fifth consecutive month of increases and the highest level since April.

Business Confidence
The Business Confidence Index increased for the fifth consecutive month in December to reach the highest level since March. The Index stood at 71.0, up from 70.4 in November, suggesting that most of surveyed managers across Africa remain very positive about future business conditions.

Market Growth
The Market Growth Index fell to 59.3 in December, from 59.6 in November, indicating only a marginal decline. The Index had been increasing for four consecutive months between August and November, which suggests that December’s decline is only a small pause.

Product Sales
The Product Sales Index increased to 57.5, from 57.3 in November, the fifth consecutive month of increases and the highest level since January 2014. This indicates that the majority of surveyed companies across Africa continued to experience strong levels of sales growth.

Prices Charged 
The Prices Charged Index registered 53.9 in December, up slightly from 53.8 in November, the lowest level since last July, when the Index was 52.4. This suggested that prices continued to rise but at a marginally faster pace compared to the previous month.

Staffing Levels
The Staffing Index rose for the third month in a row in December to register 52.5, up from 52.3 in November. This signalled the fastest pace since May, and suggested that the overall labour market continues to improve at a modest pace.

World Economics Chief Executive Ed Jones commented on the release:

“December’s Headline SMI reading pointed to only a fractional improvement in economic activity across the African continent. However, the overall index indicated that the region continued to expand at a robust pace. Business Confidence and Product Sales hit a 10-month and 11-month high respectively. Meanwhile, Prices Charged and Staffing Levels continued to increase at a modest pace.”


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

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