March 20, 2015 / 10:59 AM / 3 years ago

China business confidence dips in first quarter, central bank survey shows

BEIJING (Reuters) - Business confidence among entrepreneurs in China fell in the year’s first quarter from the final quarter of 2014, for a fifth consecutive quarter of decline, a central bank survey showed on Friday.

A woman walks at the Bund in front of the financial district of Pudong in Shanghai March 5, 2015. REUTERS/Aly Song

The survey of entrepreneurs, bankers and households by the People’s Bank of China came amid growing concerns about a protracted slowdown in China’s economy and deflation worries.

It found the entrepreneur confidence index fell to 59.2 percent in the first quarter, down 1.8 percentage points from the previous quarter.

A central bank survey of bankers showed 54.7 percent of them believed the world’s second-largest economy was cooling, up 5.9 percentage points from the fourth quarter of last year.

Current monetary policy measures are appropriate, 74.8 percent of the bankers believe, a fall of 2.4 percentage points from the fourth quarter.

A separate survey showed 48.8 percent of households rated consumer prices “unacceptably high” in the first quarter, down 4.1 percentage points from last year’s final quarter.

Among households, 51.9 percent saw housing prices as unacceptably high in the first quarter, down 6.9 percentage points from the previous quarter.

Weighed down by a property downturn, factory overcapacity and local debt, China’s economic growth is expected to slow to a quarter-century low of around 7 percent this year from 7.4 percent in 2014, even with expected additional stimulus measures.

Reporting by Kevin Yao, Editing by Nicholas Heath and Clarence Fernandez

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