China Beige Book shows broad improvement in Q4

BEIJING • The world's No. 2 economy showed improvement in the fourth quarter with gains across all industries, according to the China Beige Book.

Revenues, profits, jobs and capital expenditures improved from the third quarter, while new orders were stable, according to the private survey released yesterday by CBB International, which collects anecdotal accounts.

"Growth metrics improved virtually across the board," said CBB president Leland Miller and chief economist Derek Scissors in a report. "The improvement was dramatic on year."

Economists raised growth estimates this month as the country's top leaders gathered in Beijing to map out policies for next year. Policymakers said they are planning prudent and neutral monetary policy and proactive fiscal policy, and pledged to prevent and control financial risks to avoid bubbles.

CBB said wage growth increased in the fourth quarter, with 51 per cent of companies reporting raises while 3 per cent reported cuts. Hiring continued.

Retail led all sectors in quarterly improvement in both sales and profit, yet its capital expenditures lagged behind other industries, suggesting they do not believe the bounce is durable, CBB said.

Services strengthened and pricing improved, as did property revenue growth, while transportation construction led gains in the real estate and building sector.

For banks, borrowing dipped for the quarter but remained robust year on year. Borrowing costs jumped at banks while slipping at shadow lenders.

Credit availability dwindled, according to CBB's survey of more than 3,300 firms and 160 bankers.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 29, 2016, with the headline 'China Beige Book shows broad improvement in Q4'. Print Edition | Subscribe