Chinese consumer confidence continues to rise in April

08:43, May 10, 2011      

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Chinese consumers' confidence continued to rise in April largely due to falling food prices, easing inflationary pressures and expectations of income growth, according to an index released on Monday.

The Bankcard Consumer Confidence Index (BCCI), compiled by Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay, a national bank card association, stood at 86.8 in April, up 0.08 points from March and 0.76 points from February.

The report attributed the rise in consumer confidence to recent drops in food prices.

According to data from the Ministry of Agriculture, the wholesale price index of agricultural products dipped to 180.3 at the beginning of the month from 184.9 at the end of April.

Meanwhile, consumer spending on non-essential items increased last month, pushing the index higher, the report said.

A string of macroeconomic policies introduced by the government to ease inflationary pressures has also helped boost consumer confidence, according to the report.

Last month, China hiked its benchmark one-year deposit rates by 0.25 percentage points and raised its reserve requirement ratios by half a point in a bid to curb inflation.

Expectations of income growth also strengthened people's willingness to consume. China plans to raise the individual income tax threshold to 3,000 yuan (461.54 U.S. dollars) per month from 2,000 yuan. Some of China's provincial governments have also increased their minimum wages to help residents cope with high consumer prices.

Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay started compiling the BCCI index in April 2009. The index is based on bank card transaction data and analyses of structural changes in urban consumption.

Source: Xinhua
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