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SEB’s China Financial Index shows outlook remains optimistic

SEB's China Financial Index, which measures the business outlook among northern European companies' subsidiaries in China, remained strong at 60.2 in the autumn of 2021. While this is down slightly from the 61.3 recorded in the spring survey, it is still above the reading of 57.3 from one year ago, underpinning a continued optimistic outlook on doing business in China.

Looking at the individual index components, optimism regarding order intake over the next six months declined in the latest survey, decreasing to 59 from 65.7 in the spring. At the same time, the sub-index measuring investments increased to 62.1 from 59 in the spring, indicating a clear intention to continue investments in China primarily through the expansion of existing business.

The latest edition of the China Financial Index also shows that decoupling, regulations, and data and cyber security are among topics that are of concern to executives. For example, about 60 percent of respondents now say China has become more regulated and that is making it more difficult to do business in the country, which is an increase of about 11 percentage points from the spring.

The biggest concern over the coming six months, however, is now supply chain disruption, which is the main worry among 36 percent of respondents. In the spring survey, it was material costs that were cited as the biggest concern due to the surge in commodity prices. 

“As the world continues to focus on the recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, corporates remain optimistic about doing business in China and the latest China Financial Index contains no big surprises,” says Thilo L. Zimmermann, General Manager of SEB Shanghai. “As domestic growth in China has slowed somewhat, it seems that they have adjusted their optimism accordingly but that they remain committed to operations in China.”

About the survey
SEB’s China Financial Index is a unique semi-annual survey, whose purpose is to mirror changes in expectations among northern European (Nordic, German, Austrian, Swiss and UK) corporates in China, in order to facilitate understanding of economic and financial developments in the country. The latest survey was carried out between 6-20 December 2021 and includes a total of 20 questions related to the business climate, investment plans, recruitment plans and views on currencies. An index level above 50 signals overall positive sentiment.

For further information, contact:
Thilo L. Zimmermann, General Manager of SEB Shanghai
+86 21 2052 1888
thilo.zimmermann @seb.se

Press contact:
Niklas Magnusson, Group Press Officer
+46 70 763 8243
niklas.x.magnusson@seb.se

SEB is a leading northern European financial services group with a strong belief that entrepreneurial minds and innovative companies are key in creating a better world. We take a long-term perspective and support our customers in good times and bad. In Sweden and the Baltic countries, SEB offers financial advice and a wide range of financial services. In Denmark, Finland, Norway, Germany and the United Kingdom, the bank's operations have a strong focus on corporate and investment banking based on a full-service offering to corporate and institutional clients. The international nature of SEB's business is reflected in our presence in more than 20 countries worldwide, with around 15,500 employees. At 30 September 2021, the Group's total assets amounted to SEK 3,585bn while its assets under management totalled SEK 2,422bn. Read more about SEB at https://www.sebgroup.com