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China's consumer confidence edges up in second quarter
 

BEIJING, Aug. 12 (Xinhua) -- A major index reflecting Chinese consumers' confidence in the economy posted a slight gain in the second quarter, said a report issued by the China Economic Monitoring & Analysis Center and Nielsen Co. here Thursday.

China's Consumer Confidence Index stood at 109 in the second quarter, up one point from the first quarter, according to the China Economic Monitoring & Analysis Center affiliated with the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), which releases the data on a quarterly basis.

The reading in the second quarter was the fifth consecutive quarterly rise.

"China's consumer confidence continues to climb due to an optimistic outlook by consumers towards the macro economy," said the report.

Three-fourths of those surveyed were optimistic about the local job market and salary prospects, according to the survey that covered more than 3,500 shoppers from cities, towns and villages.

Regarding inflation, 70 percent of consumers thought prices of goods and services would rise in the next 12 months, according to the survey by the NBS center and Nielsen.

Consumer confidence hinges on local job prospects, salary prospects and consumers' willingness to spend. A reading of above 100 points suggests optimism.

Rural consumer confidence continued to gain by 6 points to 117 in the second quarter, but urban dwellers' confidence and willingness to spend has weakened, with the confidence index falling by 5 points to 101 in first-tier cities, and by 7 points to 98 in the medium- and small-size cities, the report said.

"The rapid rise in rural consumer confidence was closely related to a rise in the pay of migrant workers in recent months," said Pan Jiancheng, deputy director of the NBS center.

More than 20 provinces have raised their minimum wage levels by at least 10 percentage points in the recent months, which greatly boosted rural consumer confidence.

Mitch Barns, Nielsen's Greater China President, has attributed the weakening urban residents' confidence to "increasing consumer prices" and "stock market volatility".

These two are among several factors that appear to be affecting consumer attitudes in this latest quarter, Barns said in the report.



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