Updated: 2013-01-19 ( China Daily) - China's business confidence in the fourth quarter rebounded for the first time in a year, showing that earlier fears of an economic hard landing have largely faded while firms in all sectors are re-gearing for growth.
The National Bureau of Statistics, which surveyed 21,000 enterprises across eight industries, said China's business climate index, an important measure of macro-economic outlook, rose 1.6 points to 124.4 during the three months ended Dec 31.
The index, with a scale from zero to 200, suggests economic expansion with a reading above 100. The economic slowdown has seen the reading fall below 130 since 2012, after hovering between 130 and 138 in 2010 and 2011.
Results of a separate study by the bureau, tracking entrepreneurs' confidence, showed a similar pattern, bouncing back to 120.4 from 116.5. Both indicators marked mild recoveries from the year's lowest readings in the third quarter, suggesting new market buoyancy has put companies back on the growth track.
Meanwhile, industrial production growth reached 10.3 percent, quickening 0.2 percentage points month-on-month from November.
"We have noticed a sense of optimism and it has started to proliferate," said Liu Ligang, chief China economist at the Australia and New Zealand Banking Group Ltd in Hong Kong.
"Steady and moderate economic recovery has continued since October. Besides, the accelerated deployment of the bond market in May has given companies easier access to capital," he told China Daily.
The index advance was led by the information and communications technology sector, which posted 144.4 points.
The result falls in line with the latest Forbes study that identified 30 percent of the promising businesses in China as belonging to the ICT sector.