Thanks to a bullish outlook on the stock market and employment across the region, a rise in optimism has been observed among consumers in Asia-Pacific for the past six months, according to a survey by a global payments and technology company.
In its recently released Index of Consumer Confidence, Mastercard reveals that consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific “stays buoyed in optimistic territory” at 66.9 points, a slight improvement from 62.7 points six months ago.
The Philippines, in particular, is among the top five most optimistic markets at 88.8 points.
Topping the list is Cambodia (93.1), followed by Vietnam (90.8) and Bangladesh (89.4). China rounds off the top five at 88.2 points.
Over 9,000 respondents aged 18-64 in 18 Asia-Pacific markets, between the months of April and June this year, were asked to give a six-month outlook on five economic factors: the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, stock market, and quality of life.
The index is calculated on a scale of 0 to 100, with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as the most optimistic and between 40 and 60 as neutral.
The survey found that the 4.2-point increase in consumer confidence is driven mainly by a positive outlook on the stock market (+7.3) and employment (+5.1).
Of the 18 markets, it is South Korea which saw the highest increase in consumer confidence, displaying “heightened expectations in its economic performance” across all factors (employment, +47.2; economy, +59; income +24; stock market +54.2; quality of life, +49.4).
Singapore (45.4, +15.4) and Malaysia (42.3, +11.1) also displayed significant improvements of more than 10 points, moving from pessimistic to neutral territory.
Australia (49.2, +2.7), Hong Kong (47.0, +4.8) and Japan (44.4, +1.4) posted slight increases, remaining in neutral territory.
Hong Kong and Japan observed a slight deterioration in the regular income component (-5.8 and -8.9, respectively), while Australia recorded an increase in all five components.
On the other hand, it is India that has shown the largest drop in confidence levels in the region (-9.3 points), with particularly large declines in the economy and quality of life components.
Despite this, the country still remains in very optimistic territory.
Likewise, while the Philippines and Malaysia saw a slight deterioration in confidence levels (-2.7 and -6.0), both also still remained in the very optimistic category.
Taiwan (38.3, +4.1) and Sri Lanka, (38.2, -2.0), the lowest ranked in the region, saw slight movements in overall consumer confidence, remaining in pessimistic territory.
Beginning 1993, the Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence survey has since been conducted twice yearly. It is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region.
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