Chinese consumer confidence in August fell to its lowest level since February, a somewhat ominous signal given the dramas the Chinese economy was going through at the beginning of the year.
The latest Westpac-MNI China consumer-sentiment index fell 2.2% to 111.5.
A reading of 100 is deemed neutral, indicating that optimists and pessimists are equal in number. A figure above 100 indicates that there are more optimists than pessimists.
While on balance this is still the case, it is also true that there has never been a sub-100 reading in the history of the survey, dating back to April 2007.
Fitting with the weakness in the headline index, it came as no surprise that four of the survey’s five components weakened in August.
Of note, measures on household finances dived, particularly for expected finances, which slumped to the lowest level on record. It fell by 6.8% — the fourth decline in the past five months — leaving the year-on-year drop at 13.4%.