China's economic recovery is still challenged by weak business sentiment and shrinking industrial orders, according to a new survey, as economists warn mounting external challenges could derail a full recovery, media reports said.
A survey conducted by China's central bank in the fourth quarter shows that business confidence and activity in the world's No 2 economy are still at low levels almost three years after the start of the coronavirus pandemic, indicating a bumpy recovery ahead, the South China Morning Post reported.
More than half of business owners claimed that the economy is cooling and the business climate getting weaker, according to the People's Bank of China, which published the poll of 5,000 entrepreneurs in the industrial sector on Tuesday.
China's leadership faces a daunting task to stabilise the economy, which has been hit hard by years of hardline Covid controls that were only dropped in a sudden policy shift in early December. The relaxation of zero-Covid has unleashed China's worst wave of virus outbreaks to date.
The central bank survey also showed that two indices gauging export orders and entrepreneurs' assessment of overall economic performance fell to the lowest level since the second quarter of 2020. The export order index dropped to 38.9 in the fourth quarter from 42.2 in the previous three months, and more than a quarter of entrepreneurs surveyed reported lower orders, the central bank said, SCMP reported.