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Chinese consumers turn less confident, Westpac report says

2014-08-27 16:53 Shanghai Daily Web Editor: Si Huan

China's consumer sentiment dropped below its long-term average in August, in sharp contrast to improved confidence among Chinese companies, a private report said on Wednesday.

The Westpac MNI China Consumer Sentiment Index fell to 113.3 in August from 114.8 in July. The August reading is 6.8 percent below the long-run average, hit by a sharp deterioration in consumers' views about their current financial situation amid a weak employment outlook, the Australian bank and the German financial news company Market News International said in a joint report today.

The survey indicates that the anxieties gnawing away at the Chinese consumer through the first half of the year remain in evidence, and have arguably strengthened.

"Confidence remains at a historically low level with consumers afar less positive about their own financial situation and worried about the outlook for jobs," said Philip Uglow, chief economist of MNI Indicators. "Compared with our noticeably more upbeat survey of Chinese business in August, consumers have yet to feel any benefit from policy action to support growth."

Westpac's senior international economist Huw McKay said: "Two months ago the employment indicator was sitting at levels that have been associated with policy easing in previous cycles. Consecutive declines from those already depressed levels in July and August, alongside the weaker official data for July, collectively provide a watertight case that it would be unwise for the authorities to declare victory too early on the growth front."

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