Standard chartered to launch pioneering ‘crowdsourcing’ indicator

Standard Chartered is launching two pioneering indicators to help shed light on the business, investment and economic outlook for select African markets.

The Bank will publish a Business Sentiment Indicator for Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya and a Consumer Price Tracker for Nigeria and Ghana, partnering with international research organisations, MNI Indicators and Premise Data Corporation.

The Standard Chartered-Premise Consumer Price Tracker, delivered by Premise, uses ‘crowdsourcing’ and cutting edge mobile technology to gather pricing of local products. Hundreds of local residents across cities are recruited to capture prices using their smartphones.

Pricing is either entered manually, or captured via photographs from local stores and marketplaces. By analysing and comparing prices and the placement of everyday items, such as vegetables and cleaning products, the Standard Chartered Premise Consumer Price Tracker delivers near real-time consumer price inflation data.

The Standard Chartered MNI Business Sentiment Indicator provides unrivalled insight into business conditions, and is expected to be a forerunner in economic analysis in each of the three countries. Companies of varying scale and sectors respond to a consistent set of survey questions covering themes such as interest rate fluctuations, employment rates, production efficiencies and export trends.

Publishing of the indicators will take place in stages considering the scale of data needed to generate accurate statistics. The Standard Chartered MNI Business Sentiment Indicator for Kenya and Nigeria, as well as the Standard Chartered-Premise Consumer Price Tracker for Nigeria, will be published by September this year. Ghana’s two indicators will be released early in 2015.

The volume of economic data available in Sub-Saharan African economies remains low in comparison to international markets, with official statistics often being out of date. This creates a challenge for decision-makers in both the private sector and governments. A lack of reliable market statistics leads to uncertainty, adds to the cost of doing business and can impact the formulation of policies, business investment and expansion strategies. Standard Chartered’s two economic indicators have been developed to specifically address this information gap.

“Africa’s investment potential is extremely strong. However, there is still a lack of credible market data. Improving this can be vital in demonstrating the region’s investment potential. Standard Chartered’s ground-breaking indicators will help to fill this gap by providing relevant, credible and real-time data from leading African markets. The innovative data-collection methods of our research partners will position our new indicators as valuable economic tools for monitoring sentiment and inflation trends,” commented Diana Layfield, CEO for Standard Chartered in Africa

Razia Khan, Regional Head of Research for Africa added, “The quality of the data and collation techniques will make Standard Chartered’s Indicators stand out from the rest. This will not only benefit our customers and corporate clients, but also support our ambition to be a global leader in African market intelligence.”

Standard Chartered’s research partners are well-established, internationally recognised organisations in their respective areas of expertise. MNI Indicators is well known for its consumer and business surveys in emerging markets, and produce the renowned Chicago Business Barometer (Chicago PMI), a leading indicator in the US economy. Premise Data Corporation pioneered an innovative mobile data collection model that captures macroeconomic information using local mobile workers to upload pictures and pricing data of curated goods and services, using Android-based software.

In line with the Bank’s brand promise of being Here for good, the trends generated from the content of these indicators stand to benefit governments, central banks, companies, investors, analysts and economists in their understanding of how Africa is growing.