China's business climate index, a key gauge of corporate performance, dropped in the first quarter amid the heavy snow disaster that hit the country in mid January, said the National Bureau of Statistic (NBS) on Monday.
"Heavy snow over the southern part of the country and the slowdown of the world economy had negative impacts on the business performance in the first quarter," the NBS said.
The index, based on a survey of 19,500 Chinese firms, was 136.2points in the first quarter, 7.4 points lower than the October-December period, and 3.5 points down than a year earlier.
The index of the information technology and software sectors was 159.0 points, followed by the wholesale and retail trade of 153.2 points. Both represented a decline of 1 point year on year.
The industrial, construction, property and hotel sectors reported lower indexes compared with the October-December period, which were 133.3, 136.7, 132.2 and 132.2 points, respectively.
Large-, medium- and small-sized enterprises all reported declining indexes in the first quarter, which were 154.7, 125.2 and 115.5 points, respectively.
The index, with the 100-point mark as the mark between depression and prosperity, tumbled to 116.6 points, its lowest level in recent years during the outbreak of SARS in 2003. It has since stayed above 130.