The FTCR China Freight Index dipped at the close of 2017 but remained well above recent average levels, thanks to a jump in volumes. The headline index dropped 0.3 points to 52.5, marking a fourth month above 50, the dividing line between improving and deteriorating operating conditions. However, companies also reported that freight rates failed to increase in December for the first month in five, while profits fell for a 13th month and at their fastest pace in six months. Companies have reported that profits have failed to improve despite a relatively upbeat second half. Although companies were generally optimistic about the outlook for business at the start of 2018, this profit picture may not substantially improve.

  • The FTCR China Freight Volume Index rose 2.4 points to 53.9, the highest level since January 2014 (54.7), with 29.8 per cent of respondents reporting that volumes increased over the previous month.
  • The FTCR China Freight Outlook index fell 2.2 points to 51.7, suggesting companies were slightly less optimistic than they were in November.
  • The FTCR China Freight Rate Index fell 4.6 points to 50, marking a four-month low and indicating that rates stopped increasing in December. Among respondents, 11.7 per cent said rates increased compared with last month, the same proportion as those reporting a decrease.
  • The FTCR China Freight Cost Index fell 1.2 points to 59.5 but remained slightly above the average of 57.3 for the previous 12 months.
  • The FTCR China Freight Profit Index fell 4.9 points to 42.7, a six-month low. Among respondents, 22.9 per cent said profits were down while just 8.3 per cent reported an increase.

The FTCR China Freight survey is based on interviews with 200 road, railway, waterway and air logistics companies. For further details click here. This report contains the headline figures from the latest Freight survey; the full results are available from our Database.

FT Confidential Research is an independent research service from the Financial Times, providing in-depth analysis of and statistical insight into China and Southeast Asia. Our team of researchers in these key markets combine findings from our proprietary surveys with on-the-ground research to provide predictive analysis for investors.