BEIJING: Consumer confidence in China has reached its lowest level for the year to date, a trend exerting a negative impact on purchase intent.

Market News International, the research provider, surveyed 1,017 adults, and found its overall indicator of sentiment hit 90.4 points in May, down from 94.2 points in May, and the worst score since December 2012.

The drop off was especially pronounced in central and western areas, sliding from 94 points to 85.9 points month on month, but few pockets of optimism existed elsewhere.

“Consumers reacted badly to unexpectedly weak April economic data, as the global growth slowdown caught up with the Chinese economy,” the study said. “Worries were widespread.”

“Sentiment worsened for consumers in every region of China,” it added. “In addition, all three age groups became more pessimistic in May, with middle-aged and older groups significantly so.”

Upon assessing their current individual and household circumstances, contributors recorded an average of 93.2 points, a decrease from 96.8 points month on month.

The future expectations reading here stood at an even more modest 88.9 points, lagging May's 92.7 points, and the weakest performance since the closing month of 2012.

Similarly, in appraising their personal financial situation, participants logged 104.3 points, considerably trailing 111.5 points in April and 113.9 points in March.

Looking forward, the outlook among consumers was relatively positive on this metric, on 116.8 points, although this again marked a contraction from 122 points during the previous month.

When it came to buying durables, the index registered 107.4 points, a 1.1 point-decline compared with the preceding month and from 110.6 points a year earlier.

Sentiment concerning the property market also fell for the fourth month in a row, and purchase intent for cars tumbled to the lowest level since the survey began five years ago, largely because of rising gas prices.

Finally, perceptions of business conditions for the next year were flat on 115.2 points. The five-year forecast, however, dropped by over ten points, to 135.2 points.

Data sourced from Market News International; additional content by Warc staff