Myanmar, India and Indonesia top MasterCard Index
Sentiment in Malaysia deteriorates; Vietnam, Thailand and Singapore optimistic
CONSUMERS in Asia Pacific’s emerging markets remain optimistic despite a slight decline in overall consumer confidence for the region, according to the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence.
This decrease comes after the region recorded the highest consumer confidence score in more than 10 years in the previous survey for the first half of 2014 (H1 2014).
Respondents were asked to give a six-month outlook on five economic factors including the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, and their quality of life. The Index is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.
Key takeaways (overall)
The Asia Pacific markets are optimistic overall despite a decrease of 2.9 Index points to 65.5 Index points in H2 2014, from 68.3 Index points in H1 2014.
Compared to H1 2014, only the Philippines (up 7.7 Index points) and Bangladesh (up 16.9 Index points) out of the 16 Asia Pacific markets surveyed recorded a greater than 5 Index point improvement in consumer confidence. 10 out of 16 Asia Pacific markets remained stable with either muted improvements or declines.
There were declines across all five key economic indicators for Asia Pacific: Economy (62.7 Index points in H2 2014 from 67.1 Index points in H1 2014), employment (65.8 from 69.2 Index points), regular income prospect (75.5 from 77.5 Index points), stock market (61.5 from 65.7 Index points), and quality of life (61.9 from 62.2 Index points).
Key takeaways (by country)
Bangladesh recorded the single largest improvement in Asia Pacific, moving from optimistic to very optimistic territory at 83.3 Index points, up 16.9 Index points. It is the only market that saw a double-digit rise in consumer sentiment.
Myanmar, India and Indonesia are the Asia Pacific region’s most optimistic markets, with 97.2 Index points, 91.6 Index points and 90.1 Index points, respectively.
Within South-East Asia, consumer confidence rose in the Philippines by 7.7 Index points, pushing into optimistic territory (77.1 Index points), while Malaysia saw a deterioration in consumer confidence, down 11.5 Index points to 49.9 Index points in H2 2014, sliding below the 50 point neutral mark for the first time since the financial crisis low in H1 2009.
Vietnam (85.3 Index points) and Thailand (83.6 Index points) remain very optimistic and Singapore remains optimistic (60.9 Index points).
“The slight drop in Asia Pacific’s consumer confidence reflects an outlook of cautious optimism,” said Pierre Burret, head of Delivery, Quality & Resource Management for Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Advisors.
“Consumers across the region are holding their breath for signs of sustained economic growth and opportunity.
“Emerging markets Myanmar, India and Indonesia are the most optimistic because of either positive anticipation for a brighter future or excitement around their respective newly-minted governments.
“Conversely, the developed markets of North-East Asia, namely Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong were much less optimistic in their outlook. In these markets, the wanted signs of long-term growth and opportunity are blocked by Hong Kong’s recent political crisis and Japan’s weakening yen,” he added.
The Index is based on a survey conducted between October 2014 and November 2014 on 8,235 respondents aged 18-64 in 16 countries across Asia Pacific. This is the 44th survey of Consumer Confidence conducted since 1993.
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