Confidence in the economy on the rise

Updated: 2012-12-18 22:09

By Wang Xiaotian (China Daily)

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Confidence among bankers and entrepreneurs in the health of China's economy has risen compared with three months ago, while inflation expectations went up among households, surveys said.

The confidence of bankers in about 3,000 financial institutions in the economy next quarter rose 13.1 points to 55.1, according to a survey released by the People's Bank of China on Tuesday.

More than 60 percent of the surveyed bankers said that they expect the economy to remain in a "normal" range, while nearly 35 percent believe economic conditions might be lackluster.

A separate survey involving 5,000 entrepreneurs showed that an index measuring their confidence in the economy went up 1.2 points quarter-on-quarter to 60.4. However, the figure is 8 points lower than at the same time last year.

Meanwhile, an index reflecting companies' profits rose 1.7 points to 53.1, although it still is 2.4 points lower than in the fourth quarter of 2011.

November's data broadly confirmed that China's economy is recovering, although renewed weakness in exports and investment underscored the need for caution about the strength of the recovery, said Louis Kuijs, chief China economist at the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and a former World Bank economist.

Exports in November grew 2.9 percent year-on-year, decelerating from the 11.6 percent increase in October, while imports were flat.

Another central bank survey showed that confidence in the employment situation among 20,000 urban households in 50 cities rose 1.9 points and reached a three-year high.

But inflation expectations among households for the next quarter have risen, after a rebound in the consumer price index — a main gauge of inflation — in November.

Almost 42 percent of those surveyed believe that consumer prices will rise in the next quarter, 4.7 percentage points higher than in the previous three months.

However, the proportion of households who believe that prices are generally "too high to accept" decreased to 59 percent from nearly 61 percent in the previous quarter.

China's CPI rose 2 percent year-on-year in November, the first increase since August. In October, the annual inflation rate stood at 1.7 percent, the lowest in 33 months.

Li Yang, deputy head of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, said on Tuesday that although CPI fluctuations might influence policy decisions by the central bank, monetary authorities now pay more attention to the overall prices, which also include property prices.

Nearly 20 percent of bankers foresee further monetary policy loosening next quarter, up 14 percentage points from last quarter, while 70 percent believe that the monetary stance will remain "appropriate".