Westpac and MNI Indicators to launch an independent monthly survey of Chinese Consumer Sentiment

Frankfurt - 9 May 2014

Westpac Institutional Bank (Westpac) has partnered with MNI Indicators to co-produce an independent monthly report on the Chinese consumer: The Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Survey. The key headline indicator from the survey is the Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Indicator (Westpac MNI China CSI).

MNI Indicators is part of MNI, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest exchange organisations, Deutsche Börse AG.

To be launched on Wednesday, 28 May 2014, the Westpac MNI China CSI aims to become the primary reference point for key decision makers around the world seeking to better understand the current and future state of the Chinese economy, with special reference to the household sector. It is particularly appropriate that the survey is a collaboration between firms associated with two of the countries that have benefited the most from China’s rise to date: Australia and Germany.

“MNI Indicators develops and produces a premier suite of business and consumer sentiment indicators for important markets such as China. As a key area of our information business, MNI Indicators reinforces our strategy of enhancing clients’ agility in making sound investment decisions by providing reliable and high-quality market intelligence,” said Hauke Stars, Executive Board Member responsible for the Information Technology and Market Data + Services division of Deutsche Börse.

Formerly known as the MNI China Consumer Indicator, it has been calculated since 2007 and is disseminated by MNI Indicators on a subscription basis.

Following the partnership with Westpac, the Westpac MNI China CSI will be available on a monthly basis through Westpac’s global research portal WIB IQ or by subscription from MNI Indicators. Westpac’s expert interpretation and analysis will significantly enhance global access to this information given the bank’s authority in tracking consumer sentiment in Australia for over 40 years and in-depth analysis of the Chinese economy.

The Westpac MNI China CSI also sits alongside MNI Indicators' range of business and consumer indicators for China, India, Russia and the United States.

Published on a monthly basis, MNI’s proprietary indicators are designed to present an accurate picture of the economic landscape as perceived by businesses and consumers every month. They explore attitudes, perspectives and confidence across different countries and regions, delivering in-depth analysis and highlighting how changing patterns can impact potential business and consumer activities. MNI’s suite of indicators allow users to make timely and relevant investment decisions.

Westpac’s Senior International Economist Huw McKay said the Chinese household sector is already an important factor in the determination of global growth, and that importance will increase over time.

“The Westpac MNI China CSI will take the pulse of China’s consumer mega market on a monthly basis thereby gauging one of the most critical rhythms of the global economy in a timely fashion.  This survey will complement the official data, with an easy to interpret monthly report underpinned by a pre-existing and well understood research methodology,” McKay said.

Chief Economist of MNI Indicators Philip Uglow said, “We’re delighted that our co-operation with Westpac means that this deep mine of data on the Chinese consumer will now reach an even larger audience.”

As well as key top level data to show how the Chinese economy is performing, our database of more than a hundred thousand data points over the past seven years allows professionals to analyse all aspects of Chinese households by major city, region, income, gender and age. It provides unique insights into the minds of Chinese consumers on a range of topics, including personal finances, spending, housing, autos, equity markets and employment,” Uglow added.

Westpac’s Head of Greater China Andrew Whitford said, “While there are a number of closely watched business surveys in China, this will be the only independent monthly insight into the psyche of the Chinese household sector.”

“Westpac’s expertise in this field makes us well placed to cover consumer sentiment in China and delivers on our strategy of connecting our global customers to the flow of trade, capital and investment and people  through the China Corridor,” Whitford said.

The Westpac MNI China CSI is based on the methodology developed by the University of Michigan’s U.S. Consumer Sentiment Index, which has been in use since 1946. The Westpac-Melbourne Institute Australian Consumer Sentiment Survey, founded in 1973, was also modelled on the University of Michigan survey.

The use of a pre-existing and highly regarded framework for the survey should give confidence to users that the data that they have in their hands is a robust tool for both tracking the state of the Chinese household economy and the facilitation of international comparisons. The sample size for the Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Survey is larger relative to the sample population that is used in the U.S., which leads to a smaller sampling error (3.5% versus 5%).

The Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Survey will be launched on Wednesday,

28 May 2014. After the inaugural release, the Survey findings will be published on the final Wednesday of each calendar month at 09:45 Beijing time.

Sponsor: Westpac Banking Corporation.

Production: MNI Indicators.

Date range: Monthly since April 2007.

Collection method: Computer aided telephone interviews.

Collection period: Ten working days from the first business day of the month in the People’s Republic of China.

Sample size and geographic area: Minimum of 1,000 respondents aged between 18 and 64 across 30 cities in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd tiers. That represents a 0.0003% sample size relative to the population of China’s 30 largest cities at the time of the 2010 Census.

Cf. The University of Michigan surveys a minimum of 500 respondents in the United States excluding Alaska and Hawaii. That represents a 0.00016% sample size relative to the July 1, 2012 population.

Sampling error: 3.5% for the “All China” series.

Cf. The University of Michigan survey reports a sampling error of 5% at the national level.

Disaggregation: By age, by gender, by income, by region, sub-region and by tier 1 city.

Calculation method: Each individual question is a diffusion index where 100 represents a neutral position, i.e. optimists and pessimists are equal in number.  The headline and other composite indicators are weighted measures comprised of the individual diffusion indices.

Seasonal adjustment: The raw data has been analysed for identifiable seasonality using Census X-13. No identifiable seasonal pattern was present.

Headline indicator: the Westpac MNI China CSI is an equally weighted composite of two current and three forward looking assessments, namely current and future personal finances; overall business conditions one and five years ahead; and buying conditions for major household items.

Sub-indicators: these cover consumer perceptions and/or intentions regarding employment conditions, the real estate and equity markets, autos, inflation, gasoline prices and interest rates.

Other available information: household expenditure breakdown, detailed reasoning behind responses, profit and loss on stock investments, and more.

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