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Survey shows Pinoys most optimistic in Asia-Pacific

By: - Reporter / @neltayao
/ 05:00 AM January 11, 2018

Thanks to “rising economic growth, a soaring travel industry and greater interregional economic cooperation,” citizens of the Asia-Pacific region are feeling optimistic about their future—and Filipinos are the most optimistic of them all.

This was one of the key findings of the recent MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence based on a survey conducted twice yearly in the Asia-Pacific covering 18 markets: Australia, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

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The latest survey was conducted between October and November last year among 9,141 respondents aged 18-64, who were asked five questions pertaining to their six-month outlook on the economy (“Do you expect the economic performance in your country to be better, remain the same, or worsen over the next six months?”), employment prospects (“Do you expect the employment situation in your country to be better, remain the same, or worsen over the next six months?“), the local stock market (“Do you think the local stock market index will go up, remain the same, or go down over the next six months?”), their regular income prospects (“Do you expect your regular income, including bonuses and fringe benefits, to increase, remain the same, or decrease over the next six months?”), and their quality of life (“Do you expect the general quality of life in your country to be better, remain the same, or worsen over the next six months?”).

The results of their responses were converted into five component indexes, which were subsequently averaged to form the index score. The Consumer Confidence Index score and the five components’ index scores range from zero to 100 where zero represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism, and 50 represents neutrality.

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The Philippines ranked highest on the index with a score of 94.5, making it the “most optimistic market” in the region. The improvement in Filipinos’ outlook was seen across all five components, but more significantly in three: Stock market (an 11.3-point increase from the last survey); income (+5.3 points), and quality of life (+4.4 points).

Other emerging markets also scored high on the index, according to the report: China and Cambodia place second, both at 92.2 points, followed by Manner at 91.7.

“This is in sharp contrast to more developed markets like Taiwan (44.2 points) Malaysia (45.9 points) and Japan (51.0 points), [which] were more pessimistic. High levels of optimism in emerging markets can be attributed to infrastructure investments, which are seen to drive more opportunities for jobs and upward social mobility,” the report read.

At the bottom of the index was Sri Lanka with 39.5 points, displaying worsened confidence in quality of life (-4 points) and the economy (-3.2 points).

The survey also found that across the region, more of the 18- to 29-year-old respondents expressed optimism about their economic future compared to the 30- to 64-year-olds (72.9 versus 66.7 points).

Out of the 18 markets, growths were recorded in the below 30’s demographic in the following: Stable movements were seen in Australia (+4.8 points), Myanmar (+4.4 points) and Thailand (+2.1 points); some improvement was seen in the Philippines (+6.9 points) as well as in Taiwan (+8.6 points), Malaysia (+6.2 points) and Singapore (+5.3 points); while significant improvement was tracked in New Zealand (+15.1 points).

It was in Hong Kong (+21.8 points) where the under 30s showed huge improvement in consumer confidence across all five components, the report stated.

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Declines for the above 30s age group were tracked in four markets: Indonesia (-3.1 points), Cambodia (-1.9 points), Bangladesh (-9.5 points) and South Korea (-18.4 points).

“Geopolitical tensions in South Korea contributed to its significant deterioration in consumer confidence in both its under 30 (-28.3 points) and above 30 demographics (-18.4 points). South Korea experienced the greatest decline in the index, dropping two ranks from very optimistic to neutral territory. The only other market to track declines across both demographics is Bangladesh (-8.1 points, -9.5 points),” the report added.

As for Japan, Sri Lanka and India, the opposite was observed: It was the under 30s demographic which displayed a decline in consumer confidence and the above 30s showed an improvement.

However, the report did indicate that since the latter half of 2016, “optimism across both age groups has risen; consumers aged above 30 tracked a 6.3-point jump in optimism, while people aged below 30 tracked a 5.0-point lift. These lifts are reflected across buoyant consumer sentiment toward the stock market, employment and economic performance.”

The Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence survey has been conducted twice yearly since 1993, forming a collection of indices collected from more than 200,000 interviews in the region. It is part of the Mastercard Index suite, which also includes the Mastercard Index of Women’s Advancement, Mastercard Index of Financial Literacy, and the Mastercard Index of Global Destination Cities.

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