Chinese Consumer Confidence Slides on Concern Inflation Will Hurt Spending

A Chinese consumer confidence index fell in the fourth quarter to the lowest since 2009, indicating that concern about inflation may restrain spending in the world’s fastest-growing major economy.

The measure was at 100, compared with 104 in the previous three months, Nielsen Co. and the Chinese statistics bureau’s Economic Monitoring and Analysis Center said in a statement released in Beijing today.

China’s inflation has topped the government’s 4 percent target for 2011 for the past four months even as the central bank raises interest rates and drains money from the financial system by boosting lenders’ reserve requirements. Consumers’ willingness to spend dropped “notably” as inflation expectations grew and food prices jumped, the statement said.

High housing prices and rising interest rates also curbed private consumption, it said.

Eighty-three percent of consumers expected prices to rise further in the next 12 months, 6 percentage points higher than in the previous quarter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dingmin Zhang in Beijing at dzhang14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Panckhurst at ppanckhurst@bloomberg.net

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