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SME business confidence edges higher

By WANG XIAOTIAN (China Daily)

09:24, January 09, 2013

Business confidence is rising again among Chinese small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, after falling for two straight quarters last year.

However, confidence still remains low, according to the latest China SME Confidence Index report released by Standard Chartered Bank on Tuesday.

The fourth quarter of 2012 recorded a reading of 47.28, a marginal increase of 0.57 percentage point from the previous quarter.

The report said: "The overall index in the fourth quarter began to stabilize and showed an upward trend, but it remained below the level of the same period in 2011," when the reading was 54.57.

Confidence in the macro economy, business operation, and investment all rose slightly from the third quarter, but confidence in financing failed to follow the upward trend of the previous term, declining by two points.

Despite a higher index reading, 32 percent of the small businesses and 36 percent of the medium-sized firms said they were not optimistic about their economic situation, while less than 20 percent said they were "optimistic".

First launched in October 2011, the quarterly index covers 1,000 SMEs, 70 percent of which are micro and small enterprises from 10 sectors in 20 cities throughout China.

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