Emily Tan
Aug 16, 2012

Asia-Pacific consumers face year with renewed confidence: MasterCard Index

SINGAPORE – Consumers are less concerned about slow growth and have regained confidence, according to the latest Mastercard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence.

Asian consumers have relaxed about the economic slowdown
Asian consumers have relaxed about the economic slowdown

The index is based on a survey conducted between 24 April and 10 June with 11,376 respondents aged 18 to 64 in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. This is the 39th survey of consumer confidence conducted since 1993. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

Consumers in the region remain most optimistic in India (82.1 points), China (77.4), Vietnam (77.2) and Thailand (75.8), while the least optimistic markets are Japan (23.6), Taiwan (25.7) and Australia (39.2).

“Vietnam has been a major beneficiary of low-end manufacturing relocating from China in the recent past,” commented Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor, MasterCard Worldwide. “India, being the least dependent on either global or China demand, is by far the most domestic-oriented among the key markets in the region and its relative optimism reflects the perception that the economy has become more stable after growth declining for two years.”

Overall, nine out of 14 Asia-Pacific markets polled recorded positive improvements when compared to the second half of 2011, driving the region up to 57.2 points in the first half of 2012 from 52.1 points in the second half of last year.

“The latest reading of consumer confidence in Asia/Pacific reflects the increasingly complex mix of key influences affecting the region,” said Hendrick-Wong. “The first is the global environment, which continues to be weak and riddled with uncertainty, especially in Europe; the second is the slowdown in China, which has been affecting many key regional markets that are China-centric in their exports; and the third is the strength of the domestic markets in sustaining growth with home-grown demand.”

For the region as a whole, increases were recorded across all key indicators of regular income (from 64.5 to 71.9 points), employment (49.3 to 54.0 Index points), economy (49.3 to 51.8 Index points), quality of life (49.6 to 51.7 points) and stock market (47.9 to 56.5 points).

Hong Kong, which dropped 38.7 points in the last Index, improved by 21.9 Index points to lead the region in terms of confidence increase, followed closely by South Korea (up 21.4 points), Malaysia (up 17.1 points) and New Zealand (up 15.3 points).

“While the global environment affects all markets in Asia/Pacific, the slowdown in China has had more severe impact on Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan,” noted Hendrick-Wong.

Indonesia recorded the single largest deterioration in consumer confidence (down 18.7 points) followed by the Philippines (down 11.8 points). Consumer confidence in the economy plummeted in Indonesia (from 74.9 to 33.3 points), with employment also falling from 70.6 to 40.8 points. For more on results from Southeast Asia, please see our additional coverage.

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