China business confidence index rebounds in Q1.
The National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) revised business confidence index, which measures sentinment across industries, rose to 123 in the first quarter, from 120.9 three months earlier, the NBS said in a statement on its website www.stats.gov.cn.
Despite the recovery, confidence in the first quarter was still lower than a year ago, when the index stood at 138.9.
The statistics agency said it had revised the confidence index to include two sub-indexes that measure business sentiment in the present and future periods. It did not disclose readings for the sub-indexes.
It said its business climate index, another measure of firms’ expectations of growth, inched lower to 127.3 in the first quarter, from 127.8 in the previous quarter.
The indexes are based on surveys of almost 20,000 Chinese firms of different sizes in sectors including construction, transport, retail, software and catering.
A reading above 100 implies improving operating conditions for Chinese companies and rising confidence about the future.
China will release a flood of March data this week which is expected to show the economy is cooling, not crashing as some market watchers have feared.
On Tuesday, China surprised markets by returning to an export-led trade surplus, raising the prospect that a rebound in the global economy is lifting overseas orders just in time to compensate for a slowdown in domestic demand.
But the relatively slack pace of export growth may still fuel investors’ concerns about the outlook for Chinese companies, which saw new orders and profit margins slump through 2011.