The FTCR China Export Index softened in February on the back of a slower rise in volumes and new orders. The headline index fell 2.3 points month on month and was 1.1 points lower than the same month last year. Despite fresh signs of weakness in key sub-indices, the February report suggests exports are holding up on the back of robust global growth. Our index remains within the 53 to 57-point range of the past 18 months, while February is also the 20th straight month above the 50 mark, which separates improving from worsening operating conditions. 

Our Export Volume Index fell for a fourth straight month, dropping 3.7 points to 58.3, its lowest reading since June 2016 (57.1). Our index gauging the flow of new orders dropped 2.2 points month on month to 53.

Respondents were barely positive on the outlook for the coming month, with the FTCR China Export Outlook Index falling 2.7 points to 50.2.

Our Export Price Index fell 2.2 points to 51.2 in February. Among respondents, 77 per cent said prices were unchanged over the previous month, while the 10.3 per cent who said prices fell was the biggest proportion since November 2016 (11 per cent). 

The FTCR China Export Cost Index fell 7.8 points in February to 54.2. Among respondents, 18.8 per cent said costs had increased over the previous month, down sharply on January’s 28.2 per cent, while 70.9 per cent said they were unchanged. 

Exporters reported a sixth straight month of rising profits, though the pace at which they rose was slower than in January. Our Export Profit Index fell 1.9 points to 53.3. 

The FTCR China Export survey is based on interviews with 200 export manufacturers, trading companies and shipping agents nationwide. For further details click here. This report contains the headline figures from the latest Export 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 south-east 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.