Southeast Asia tops global consumer confidence survey

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05:29 PM July 23rd, 2013

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July 23rd, 2013 05:29 PM

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SINGAPORE — Dynamic growth and an expanding middle class are making Southeast Asian consumers among the most confident in the world when it comes to their economic prospects, a survey showed Tuesday.

Indonesian consumers were the most confident globally, according to the research by polling group Nielsen, while Southeast Asian countries figured prominently in the top-10 rankings during the second quarter.

Southeast Asia’s biggest country had an index of 124 to top the rankings, Nielsen’s Global Survey of Consumer Confidence showed, well above the world average of 94.

Indonesia was followed by the Philippines with an index of 121.

Elsewhere India came in third, then Thailand, Brazil, China, United Arab Emirates, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia as the economies where consumers are the most confident about the economic outlook.

Nielsen’s consumer confidence survey gauges consumers’ economic outlook as well as how confident they are about the job market, status of their personal finances and readiness to spend.

The US group said the survey polled more than 29,000 consumers with Internet access in 58 countries between May 13-31.

Consumer confidence levels above and below a baseline of 100 indicate degrees of optimism and pessimism, it said.

“Overall, Southeast Asian consumers are feeling optimistic about the economic outlook compared to the rest of the world,” said Vishal Bali, managing director of Nielsen’s Consumer Insights business in Southeast Asia, North Asia and the Pacific.

“Minimum wages are increasing, as are foreign investments and a growing number of consumers are entering the middle class,” he added.

“This is no doubt fuelling the positive outlook we are observing,” Bali said.

“As the middle class population across Southeast Asia continues to grow at a rapid pace, consumer spending in these markets is reflecting their new-found wealth,” he added.

The Asian Development Bank this month said Southeast Asia’s economies are expected to expand 5.2 percent this year.

The Philippine economy grew 7.8 percent in the first quarter of the year, boosting hopes the country has entered a sustained phase of rapid growth.

Indonesia’s economy expanded by 6.02 percent in the first quarter, according to official data, and is likely to grow 6.2-6.6 percent this year.

The survey said people in Southeast Asia also have strong confidence about their personal finances.

Indonesians were the region’s most optimistic about their financial position, with 84 percent of them rating it as good or excellent.

The Philippines followed with 79 percent of those surveyed saying they were confident about their financial situation, then Thailand (69 percent) and Malaysia (63 percent).

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