Asia-Pacific News

China consumer sentiment rises to highest since May 2014

Neelabh Chaturvedi
China consumers feeling good

Consumer sentiment in China improved in September to its highest level in over a year, a gauge showed Wednesday, as households shrugged off the gyrations in the country's stock market.

The Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Indicator climbed to 118.2 in September from 116.5 in August, marking the best reading since May 2014.

Households appear to have responded positively to recent policy developments, including rate cuts last month and proposed reforms to the country's state-owned enterprises, Westpac said in a statement.

Both measures of business conditions made solid gains in September with Business Conditions in One Year at the highest in nearly two years and the longer-term Business Conditions in Five Years also stronger, Westpac said.

The upbeat reading despite the weakness in equity markets could also be explained by the fact that only around 11% of the respondents who live in urban areas identify themselves as being invested in the stock market.

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"Remarkably, Chinese consumer sentiment is now only 1.7% below its long term average. Views around housing have also turned modestly positive," said Matthew Hassan, senior economist at Westpac.

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"With consumption and housing increasingly critical growth drivers for China, how these trends unfold will continue to warrant close attention," he said.