China consumers driving economic rebound: survey

Wed Dec 26, 2012 6:06am EST
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BEIJING (Reuters) - China's consumers are leading an uneven recovery in the world's second biggest economy that has retailers expecting stronger sales in six months, early results of a national survey showed on Wednesday.

The China Beige Book survey of more than 2,000 executives revealed that the retail sector had the strongest revenue growth and business expectations in the fourth quarter of 2012.

The survey broadly detected a mild economic recovery with the hard-hit sectors of real estate, mining and manufacturing - to a lesser extent - joining retail at the head of the upswing.

"The revenue growth pickup was notable in luxuries and durable goods - furniture, appliances, and autos," said the survey, conducted between October 26 and December 2 by New York-based CBB International and based on the U.S. Federal Reserve's economic report of the same name.

"Retailers' mood remains quite hopeful, with 72 percent forecasting higher sales in six months, up 4 points on last quarter. A remarkably low 6 percent foresee declines," it said, adding that 61 percent of retailers reported higher sales in the Q4 survey than in Q3.

The biggest bounces were seen in coastal Guangdong province, Beijing, the northeast and central regions of China - locations which Q3's survey found had the biggest spending falls.

The retail rebound was not evenly distributed, however, with Shanghai and the southwest region recording falls in spending.

The survey's findings are reflected in the most recent raft of economic indicators from China, revealing a mild rebound taking hold in Q4, and in policymaker comments.

China's retail sales grew 14.9 percent year-on-year in November, ahead of the 14.6 percent forecast in a Reuters poll.   Continued...

A woman shops for handbags at a Gucci luxury boutique at the IFC Mall in Shanghai June 4, 2012. REUTERS/Carlos Barria