(Yicai Global) March 8 -- Confidence in China's economy has risen for a third straight month to the highest level in 20 months, according to a survey of chief economists.
The Yicai chief economist confidence index rose to 52.3 this month, up from 51.3 in February, indicating ongoing positive sentiment with a reading above 50.
China's efforts in economic and social development this year will prioritize the recovery and expansion of consumption and higher incomes through various means, according to the government’s work report published on March 5. These efforts will stabilize consumption of bulk commodities and boost the recovery of services and consumption related to daily life, it said.
The economic recovery will continue its strong momentum, with the economy growing this month, according to the average prediction of the 18 leading economists in China polled by Yicai Global.
On March 5, China set an economic growth target for this year of about 5 percent, the lowest for decades. Last year the country targeted an increase in gross domestic product of about 5.5 percent, and achieved 3 percent.
February’s consumer price index likely rose 1.8 percent from a year earlier, slower than January’s 2.1 percent uptick, the economists forecast. They expect producer price index to have fallen 1.2 percent from a year ago, compared with January’s 0.8 percent decline.
The respondents to the survey, whose findings were published yesterday, had expected a trade surplus of about USD72.9 billion for first two months of 2023, versus yesterday’s official data which showed a 6.8 percent jump to USD116.9 billion from a year earlier.
They also predicted that new loans tallied about CNY1.42 trillion (USD204.4 billion) in February, with social financing totaling CNY2.06 trillion, and M2, a broad measure of money supply that covers cash in circulation and all deposits, jumping 12.4 percent from a year ago. Based on these predictions, all were outdone by January's official data.
The benchmark deposit rate and the one-year and five-year loan prime rates will remain unchanged in the coming month, the economists forecast.
The economists also predicted the Chinese yuan to trade at 6.86 versus the US dollar by the end of this month and expect it to strengthen to 6.69 by year-end, a 3.8 percent gain compared with the end of last month.
Editor: Martin Kadiev