China's Bankers Are More Confident in Economy, PBOC Survey Shows

  • Banker confidence index climbed to highest since 2014: survey
  • More than half of families said housing prices are too high

China’s bankers and corporate leaders are more confident in the economy than any time since 2014, a central bank survey shows.

A gauge of banker confidence in the economy rose to 64.9 in the first three months of this year, according to the quarterly People’s Bank of China survey of about 3,200 banks and 5,000 enterprises nationwide. That was the highest reading in three years. Confidence among entrepreneurs climbed to 61.5, a two-and-a-half year high. Anything above 50 suggests respondents are optimistic.

The good vibes come after the economy accelerated in the fourth quarter of last year as a credit-fueled rally in smokestack industries gained momentum. Outstanding credit at year-end was equal to about 258 percent of gross domestic product, up from 160 percent in 2008, Bloomberg Intelligence estimates. The stronger economic performance is giving policy makers more maneuvering room as they try to rein in leverage and bubbles without derailing growth.

In a third survey tracking urban households, 52.2 percent said property prices are too high, down a fraction from the past three quarterly readings. The share who said they plan to buy a house in the next quarter rose to 22.9 percent from 13.6 percent a year earlier.

Even as cities from Beijing and Guangzhou tighten home-purchase curbs to rein in prices, just 10.6 percent of households said they believe home prices will fall in the next quarter.

— With assistance by Yinan Zhao

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