The FTCR China Consumer Index rose to a five-month high in February as measures of household incomes and sentiment towards the economy hit their highest levels in more than two years. The headline index was 3.4 points above the average for the previous 12 months, while this was the best February reading since 2013.

Although our Discretionary Spending Index was notable for falling relative to January, it was comfortably higher than last February’s reading and well above the average for the past year.

  • Consumers said their discretionary spending was higher than during the same month last year.

  • The FTCR Discretionary Spending Index fell 1.1 points month on month to 74.7 but was up 2.7 points year on year.

  • Our Discretionary Spending Outlook Index rose 0.4 points on January and was 4.7 points higher year on year at 73.9.

  • Consumers reported that growth in their household incomes improved in February.

  • The FTCR Household Income Index rose 1.2 points month on month and 7.2 points year on year to 75.6 in February.

  • Our Household Income Outlook Index rose to its highest level since November 2013, increasing 0.6 points month on month and 6.5 points year on year to 76.9.

  • Consumers’ views on the economy’s recent performance and its outlook were more positive than they have been since November 2014.

  • Our Economic Sentiment Index rose 5.3 points over January and 11.7 points year on year to 65.5.

  • The FTCR China Economic Outlook Index increased 4.5 points month on month and 12.4 points year on year to 76.2.

  • Consumers reported a slightly faster increase in their cost of living growth in February.

  • Respondents estimated the average cost of living rose 6.8 per cent year on year, up from 6.7 per cent in January.

  • They expect cost-of-living growth of 7 per cent over the next six months, up from the 6 per cent forecast in our January survey.

  • Our House Buying Sentiment Index rose to its highest level in more than two years, increasing 5.4 points month on month and 2.1 points year on year to 55.1. Our Property Investment Index also improved, rising 3.5 points on January and 2.8 points year on year to 45.6.

  • Our sub-index measuring sentiment towards cars rose in February after January’s dip. Sentiment towards buying clothing, overseas travel and domestic travel, in particular, also improved in February.

  • Our A-share Buying Sentiment Index — measuring whether consumers perceive it is a good time to invest in A-shares — rose 5.6 points month on month and 7 points year on year.

  • However, actual stock-buying intentions moderated month on month. Buying sentiment towards P2P products also softened while appetite for wealth management products, funds and insurance products improved.

The FTCR China consumer survey comprises interviews with 1,000 consumers nationwide. For further details click here.

This report contains the headline data from the consumer survey. The full results, including historical data, are available on our database.

FT Confidential Research is an independent research service from the Financial Times, providing in-depth analysis of and statistical insight into China and Southeast Asia. Our team of researchers in these key markets combine findings from our proprietary surveys with on-the-ground research to provide predictive analysis for investors.

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