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Consumer confidence edges up after earthquake
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Chinese consumer confidence edged up 0.2 percentage point to 95.1 points in June, boosted by easing general prices and earthquake rescue work which encouraged patriotism.

The China Consumer Confidence Index, compiled by Xinhua Finance Ltd and eziData, said the slight improvement in confidence was despite negative factors such as constant quake aftershocks, the financial crisis in Vietnam and a falling stock market.

"The improvement is largely due to easing price rises, which helped raise consumer sentiment on current conditions, and the earthquake rescue work, which has strengthened endurance for facing difficulties ahead," said the two companies in a report released yesterday.

China's Consumer Price Index, the main gauge of inflation, rose 7.7 percent last month, easing from 8.5 percent in April thanks to a stabilized food supply and various government measures.

The Shanghai Composite Index, however, plunged under 3,000 points this month.

The report said consumer confidence in stocks did not collapse because of the tumbles but stagnated at low levels, due to hesitation among investors and their wait-and-see mindset.

In May, the consumer confidence index settled at 94.9 points, the lowest level in the history of the survey, which started last April with the benchmark value set at 100.

"As the Olympics approach and negative factors such as inflation seem to be controllable within a certain period, we believe that consumer confidence is not likely to fall much in the next couple of months but should stabilize or rise," said eziData analysts.

The survey was conducted through 1,554 telephone interviews this month by Xinhua Finance Ltd, a financial information and media service provider, and China consumer data provider eziData, in association with Richard Curtin, a research professor at the University of Michigan.

(Shanghai Daily June 27, 2008)

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