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October 13, 2015

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Shanghai consumer confidence weakens

SHANGHAI’S consumer confidence weakened in the third quarter with China’s economy faring worse than expected in the period, but people’s willingness to buy property assets in the city strengthened, a survey revealed yesterday.

The Index of Consumer Confidence in Shanghai, compiled by the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, retreated to 115.8 in the July-September period, down from 119.7 in the previous quarter and 116.1 a year earlier. A reading above 100 suggests optimism, but the latest figure was the lowest in a year.

Xu Guoxiang, director of the university’s Applied Statistics Research Center, said the disappointing macro-economic performance was the main reason for the drop in the reading.

“Many economic activity indicators, especially that of the manufacturing sector, turned out to be worse than expected in the third quarter, while the rout in the stock market also shook people’s confidence,” Xu said.

The components showed Shanghai consumers’ income index lost 4.1 points from a quarter earlier to 129.1 in the third quarter. Their expectations for the economic growth decreased 1.6 points to 136.6, and that for the employment slumped 10.6 points to 110.7.

In comparison, people’s willingness to invest in housing rose 4 points to 59.1, partly due to the easing policies in the sector while some people withdrew from the stock market and invested in property.

China’s economy rendered a 7-percent expansion in the second quarter, still in line with the full-year target. But the data in the past few months, including trade, industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment, all moderated, suggesting that the third-quarter growth is due to moderate. Some analysts expect it will weaken to a level as low as 6.6 percent. The National Bureau of Statistics will release the data next Monday. Shanghai’s gross domestic product rose 7 percent in the second quarter, better than the 6.6 percent increase in the first quarter.


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