Released: 16 July 2018

China’s Growth Stable but Business Confidence Falls Further in July

  • Market Growth Index falls to lowest level in survey history
  • Sales growth unchanged
  • Price inflation continues to rise

Sales Managers’ Index (SMI) data shows that the Chinese economy continued to grow in July at a consistent pace but at a slower rate than reported in the 1st quarter of the year. Leading the slowdown of the Headline Index is the drop in the Market Growth Index from 52.0 in May to 50.4 in July. Even though sales have remained stable in July, sales managers have expressed worry that the overall growth trend can’t continue. Panellists have explained that their companies have been lowering capital expenditure, inventories of stock, and limiting their exposure to underperforming accounts in order to increase their capacity against possible coming risks and future challenges arising from a trade war with the United States. Sales in the Manufacturing sector especially have been slowing for four consecutive months as overall market growth for this key sector contracted in July. The Prices Charged Index remained stable for Manufacturers but prices in the consumer Goods and Services sectors; increased sharply. Business optimism slowed across all sectors again during the month to tepid levels although managers in the Service sector were marginally more upbeat than those in Manufacturing.

Full July SMI Data Tables can be downloaded now.


Sales Managers' Index (SMI)

The Headline Sales Managers' Index (SMI) - a composite indicator designed to provide the most up-to-date assessment of business activity.

Business Confidence Index

The Business Confidence Index measures the level of optimism/pessimism amongst sales for future conditions.

Market Growth Index

The Market Growth Index monitors the underlying growth of the market segments into which the panel members sell.

Sales Growth Index

The Sales Growth Index defines the speed and direction of overall sales of goods and services made by business during the month.

Prices Charged Index

The Prices Charged Index measures the speed and direction of changes in the current price of goods and services taking into account any discounts offered.

Staffing Levels Index

The Staffing Levels Index monitors the level of growth or decline in employment against the same period a year earlier.


Manufacturing Sector – [Download Data Tables]

Key findings for the Manufacturing sector can be found in the Sales Managers’ Index for Manufacturing.


Non-Manufacturing Service Sector– [Download Data Tables]

Key findings for the Services sector can be found in the Sales Managers’ Index for Non-Manufacturing.




About China SMI Data

The Sales Managers Index provide the earliest monthly data on the speed and direction of economic activity in China.

Key advantages of the China SMI:

  • The SMI provides the first indication each month of the speed and direction of economic growth in China.
  • The SMI provides the most complete indication of growth, covering all private sector activity.
  • The SMI is based on a key occupational group - uniquely able to sense changes in business activity levels.
  • The SMI is composite index of business confidence, market growth, sales, prices charged and staffing levels.
  • The SMI is a diffusion index, any index value above 50 indicates growth and below 50 indicates contraction.


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