BEIJING, March 21 Business confidence in China
cooled in the first quarter compared to the same time last year,
a central bank survey showed on Friday, another indication that
the Chinese economy is faltering.
The People's Bank of China said the index measuring business
confidence among entrepreneurs in the first quarter dropped to
67 percent, down 1 percentage point from the same time last
The survey also showed a growing number of Chinese banks are
feeling the drag from China's slowing economy.
About 31 percent of bankers polled thought the economic
climate is "relatively cool" in the first quarter, up 4.5
percentage points from the fourth quarter last year, the central
Official data showed China's economy slowed markedly in the
first two months of the year, with growth in investment, retail
sales and factory output all falling to multi-year lows.
Premier Li Keqiang said on Wednesday that China will speed
up investment and construction plans to ensure domestic demand
expands at a stable rate - an indication authorities are
considering practical measures to support slackening economic
The central bank polls bankers, households and firms
separately every quarter for their views on the economy,
inflation, home prices and other subjects.
The latest survey showed loan demand increased about 4
percentage points to 78 percent.
It also showed fewer bankers believed that the present
monetary policy stance is appropriate - down 7.1 percentage
points at 66 percent compared to the previous three months.
Among households, inflation expectations fell to 63.9
percent, down 8.3 percentage points from the previous three
Some 64.3 percent of respondents felt current home prices
are "unacceptably high," down 2.2 percentage points from the
Meanwhile, 15 percent of households planned to buy homes in
the next three months, up 1.8 percentage points from the
China's home price inflation slowed to a six-month low in
February, the latest sign of cooling in the country's frothy
property market as government restrictions on purchases crimp
(Reporting by Xiaoyi Shao and Kevin Yao; Editing by Richard
Borsuk & Kim Coghill)