(Yicai Global) Jan. 9 -- The Yicai Chief Economist Confidence Index, a gauge of confidence in China's economy, has started the year on an upswing, returning to positive territory in January for the first time in six months as the outlook for growth improves.
The reading for this month rose to 50.16, according to the findings of the latest Yicai survey to canvass the opinions of 21 chief economists. Seventeen were upbeat about prospects and predict that economic pressure will ease over the next month.
Their average forecast for gross domestic product growth this year was 5.96 percent. Eight believe it will be slower than 6 percent, three think it will be faster than 6 percent and the rest place their bets at 6 percent.
The economists expect a 3.38 percent uptick in the consumer price index this year as inflationary pressures remain. The producer price index, which measures costs for goods at the factory gate, is expected to climb back into positive territory and average 0.42 percent, they said.
December's CPI is expected to be higher than in November, rising to 4.59 percent from 4.5 percent. The PPI should climb to minus 0.38 percent from minus 1.4 percent, the economists said.
Value-added industrial output, which measures the activity of designated large enterprises with annual turnover of at least CNY20 million (USD2.9 million), is expected to increase 5.26 percent this year from last year. That is lower than the 2019 figure of 5.64 percent, according to the survey. December's estimate was 5.88 percent, less than the 6.2 percent that the National Bureau of Statistics made public for November.
China's average retail sales of consumer goods is expected to remain at 8.03 percent this year, the same rate of growth as last year. The average projection for December was 7.86 percent, lower than November's 8.1 percent, the survey showed.
Growth expectations for imports and exports this year are 2.68 percent and 1.73 percent, respectively. Estimates for the yearly trade surplus have dropped to USD395 billion from the USD439.4 billion predicted in 2019.
The average for fixed-asset investment growth will rise 5.26 percent this year and the growth rate of investment in real estate development will slow to 6.98 percent, the economists said.
The one-year loan prime rate will drop to 3.95 percent by year-end. The economists expect the central bank to further cut the reserve requirement ratio after lowering the fixed deposit rate on Jan. 6.
The Chinese yuan is likely to stand at 6.96 against the US dollar by the middle of the year and to end the year at 6.95, the survey added.
Editor: Kim Taylor