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China’s Manufacturing Confidence Climbs to 13-Month High in November. But Many Companies are still Impacted by Covid Related Issues

The First Data on Economic Activity Levels in China - Every Month
The only survey with current month, month-on-month, monthly year-on-year, and forward looking questions

Updated: November 21, 2022

Although half of all Chinese Sales Managers Manufacturing Indexes were treading water in November, Business Confidence has been steadily recovering and is now at its highest level in more than a year. And all Manufacturing Indexes rose to a better end of month position than was the case a month ago. Overall the manufacturing situation can perhaps best be described as one of stagnation, but with increasing and quite widely spread confidence that matters will improve over the next few months.

Manufacturing & Service Sector Business confidence in November


Source: World Economics
Note: Data Shown as a Diffusion Index. (50 = 'No Change', above 50 = Increasing growth, below 50 = Declining growth)
0 0 0 USA Business Confidence|#0A66C2|53, 52.9, 53.7, 53.9, 52.9, 55.1, 53.7, 53.6, 53.7, 54.2, 54.3, 54, 54.3, 51.4, 52.1, 52.2, 52.4, 52.2, 50.9, 50.3, 50.2, 51.7, 52.1, 51.9, 51.7, 52.6 USA Market Growth|#B80411|54.4, 55.5, 52, 52.6, 51.8, 50.8, 52, 52, 51.6, 55.6, 53.4, 53.3, 53.6, 54.2, 54.7, 55.1, 55.2, 55, 50.2, 52.4, 51.2, 50.6, 49, 48.2, 48.4, 50.8 Oct 2020, Nov 2020, Dec 2020, Jan 2021, Feb 2021, Mar 2021, Apr 2021, May 2021, Jun 2021, Jul 2021, Aug 2021, Sep 2021, Oct 2021, Nov 2021, Dec 2021, Jan 2022, Feb 2022, Mar 2022, Apr 2022, May 2022, Jun 2022, Jul 2022, Aug 2022, Sep 2022, Oct 2022, Nov 2022

The continued stagnation of the Manufacturing sector, was more than mirrored in the large Services area of business activity. Of the growth related indexes, only the Business Confidence Index managed to creep over the no change 50 mark, and then hardly to an awe inspiring degree... suggesting China has some way to go before it can benefit from overall economic growth at levels anywhere near to those recorded pre Covid.

Measured over all sectors, the Chinese economy still does not look well placed, with Covid restrictions still impacting negatively on many of the companies in our survey. However Business Confidence, the "Animal Spirits" Index, does appear to provide hope that once the hurdle of the Covid problem can be cleared, economic growth might follow relatively quickly.

About the Sales Managers Indexes

The Sales Managers' Indexes provide the earliest monthly data on the speed and direction of economic activity in key growth areas of the world.

The SMI’s (Sales Managers’ Indexes) are compiled and analysed by World Economics and are based on survey data collected from a panel of companies stratifying all Industry Classification Board (ICB) sectors which are weighted to reflect their contribution to national Gross Domestic Product.

Key advantages of the SMI's:

  • The SMI's provide the first indication each month of the speed and direction of economic growth.
  • The SMI's provide the most complete indication of growth, covering all private sector activity.
  • The SMI's are based on a key occupational group - sales executives - uniquely able to sense accurate changes in business activity levels.
  • The SMI survey base - salespeople - are used by virtually all businesses, including in frontier markets, unlike other occupational groups.
  • The SMI's focus on the key countries contributing to over 60% of China growth in recent years.

About the Data

SMI data for China is published as diffusion indexes to gauge the speed and direction of economic activity.

Monthly data since 2013 is downloadable for all-sectors, manufacturing and service sectors separatly in a consistent unadjusted format for 7 key indexes: