Released: 18 September 2018

Sales Managers’ Index for China Slows to Lowest Level in 2 Years in September

  • Business Confidence and Staffing Indexes now in negative territory
  • But Sales Growth Index stays high
  • 18% of panellists believe the Yuan will depreciate further

The Sales Managers’ Index fell to 51.3 in September, down 0.5 points from August and drawing closer to the 50-point line between growth and contraction. The gauge, which is based on a panel of medium and large private companies, now stands at the lowest level for 2 years; highlighting the challenges affecting the Chinese economy. September data reveals: slowing sales, higher prices, falling jobs market and growing unease that the situation will not improve over the coming months.

The service sector is continuing to keep the economy buoyant with consumer based sales growth outperforming manufacturing sales. Manufacturing continues to be in a lacklustre situation with panel managers in the sector reporting that the current weakness of the Yuan and the developing trade war with the United States is hurting their performance. The level of the Yuan especially has been a major cause of concern for businesses as the domestic market valuation has steadily approached parity with the official FX rate against the US dollar.

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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