The improvement in current Chinese business conditions appears to have slowed a bit in March despite strong new orders growth while sentiment for future conditions fell to the lowest level in more than three years, the latest Market News International China Business Sentiment Indicator published Friday suggests.
The overall current business conditions index fell after rising for the previous two months, hitting 54.81 in March after 58.87 in February and 55.95 in January. It was at 69.33 a year ago. The result was down from 56.67 in the flash survey a week ago.
January included the week-long Chinese New Year holiday, so some of the indexes comparing February activity with the previous month may have been stronger than they would have been otherwise, with the opposite effect in March.
While new order growth continued to be a bright spot in the survey, deteriorating current financial conditions and future sentiment that dropped dramatically from recent levels reversed the recent trend of improvement.
An index figure above 50 indicates that business activity is growing or improving, a figure below 50 that it is shrinking or deteriorating. The further the figure above or below 50, the faster the growth/improvement or contraction/deterioration in activity (see accompanying story for more on methodology).