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November Consumer Confidence Rebounds

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The consumer confidence of Chinese bank card holders rebounded slightly in November after the government introduced a ranges of steps to keep prices in check, according to an index released Thursday.

The Bankcard Consumer Confidence Index (BCCI), compiled by Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay, a Chinese banking card industry association, stood at 85.86 in November, up 0.17 points from October.

Compared with the same month last year, the November BCCI figure was down 0.81 points.

Data also showed that bankcard holders' spending on essential items dropped 3.7 percent month on month in November, the first on-month decline since June, while spending on non-essentials items such as entertainment and jewelry increased 4.1 percent from October.

The National Bureau of Statistics will release the November consumer price index (CPI) figure Saturday. Many economists expect a further rise in the CPI, after it soared to a 25-month high of 4.4 percent in the 12 months through October.

Rising prices have propelled the government to take measures to rein in rising prices, including boosting supplies of key goods and giving financial aid to the needy.

The central bank twice last month ordered banks to raise the amount of money they keep in reserve, after announcing in October the first interest rate hike for nearly three years.

The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, a government think tank, said in a report released Tuesday inflationary pressures are building and excess liquidity will be a major factor driving the CPI higher over the next several years.

It forecasts consumer prices to rise 3.2 percent over the full year in 2010, above the government's full-year target of 3 percent.

Xinhua News Agency and China UnionPay started compiling the BCCI index in April 2009 based on bank card transaction data and analysis of structural changes in urban consumption.

(Xinhua News Agency December 9, 2010)

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