BEIJING: Consumer confidence declined in China during the closing three months of last year, falling to the lowest level since 2009, a new study has revealed.

The latest index of popular sentiment from research firm The Nielsen Company and government body the National Bureau of Statistics stood at 100 points, compared with 104 points the previous quarter.

"Rural consumers' confidence remained stable while the confidence of their urban counterparts dropped," the report stated.

"China's consumer confidence was still remarkably higher than the global average level."

Just 30% of the survey panel interviewed thought it was currently a "good time" to buy products, measured against the 41% posted in the prior research round.

Among the primary contributors to such a trend were rising concerns linked to inflation, as 83% of the sample anticipated prices would increase in 2011, a six point rise.

This total reached 84% relating to food, growing the same amount quarter-on-quarter, while anxiety regarding interest rates and house prices also proved common.

More positively, 54% of participants described their present employment situation as either "good" or "very good", and 67% believed this would remain the case across the rest of the year.

Another 62% expressed similar optimism when discussing income prospects for 2011.

Data sourced from China Daily; additional content by Warc staff