The CKGSB Business Sentiment Index
The CKGSB Business Sentiment Index

CKGSB’s Center on Finance and Economic Growth surveys more than 2,000 Chinese companies from within the industrial sector every quarter to provide the most comprehensive set of independent data currently available. Led by CKGSB Professor of Finance Gan Jie, this large-scale, micro-level quarterly company survey on China’s industrial economy, which began in 2014 Q2, sheds light on how the sector is coping and what types of reforms are needed—based not on opinion, but on a painstaking, fact-gathering process.

Described as the first of its kind, Professor Gan’s survey is based on stratified random sampling by industry, region and size from the National Bureau of Statistics’ population of 488,000 industrial firms that have sales of over five million RMB. The survey has around 2,000 responding firms each time.

Each quarter, Professor Gan reveals her survey findings, which are often surprising, given the usual themes found in the media today. She then outlines some policy recommendations which are necessary to deal with the problems exposed by the survey’s data.

Latest survey results

The key findings from Professor Gan Jie’s 2019 Q4 report are as follows:

  • The Business Sentiment Index (BSI) stood at 50, the turning point between expansion and contraction, and thus ending a 7-quarter mild expansion..
  • Investments were still weak and the proportion of firms making expansionary investments was 2%. 
  • The proportion of firms affected by the US-China Trade War sits at 19%. 4% of firms expected to be affected significantly by the trade war within the next two years.
  • Overcapacity was still at historically high levels throughout the year. The diffusion index rose from 83 in 2018 Q4 to 87 in 2019 Q4, hitting a record high.s.
  • The proportion of firms without any R&D spending decreased from 70% in 2018 to 65% in 2019. However, 1% of firms reported R&D spending over 5% of sales, substantially lower than the 6% in 2018.

The full survey can be downloaded via the links below (Chinese version available here).

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Professor Gan, please email jessicawang@ckgsb.edu.cn.

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