Chinese consumer confidence rebounds

Updated: 2012-03-10 07:58

By Hu Yuanyuan (China Daily)

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Chinese consumer confidence picked up in the fourth quarter of 2011, as inflationary pressures gradually eased and the outlook for incomes improved, according to a report from The Nielsen Company on Friday.

According to the Nielsen China Consumer Confidence Report, consumer confidence returned to the level of the first quarter of 2011, after consecutive falls in both the second and third quarters.

"A brighter outlook for employment and incomes for this year and increasing willingness to spend, combined with easing inflation, were the main drivers of China's consumer confidence rebound," said Karthik Rao, managing director of Nielsen Greater China.

Optimism for stronger expectations on incomes drove consumer confidence up by four percentage points in the fourth quarter to 108, 19 points above the global average of 89, according to the survey.

Consumer confidence gained eight points in the fourth quarter year-on-year, and China ranked the sixth most optimistic country last quarter. India was the world's most optimistic country with 122 points.

According to the survey, Chinese consumers expect inflation to continue to stabilize in 2012, with 30 percent expecting overall prices to remain the same or to decrease, compared with 17 percent a year ago. Meanwhile, 53 percent expect real estate prices to remain steady or decrease.

Consumers in the rural areas enjoyed the highest confidence of staying in employment at 89 percent, while 73 percent were confident about their prospects for employment.

Consumers in large cities were the most willing to spend, at 44 percent, compared with 33 percent a year ago, followed by consumers in second-tier cities, according to the survey.

(China Daily 03/10/2012 page9)