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MasterCard Survey on Retail Sales Forecasts Steady Growth across Asia Pacific

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Retail sales across Asia Pacific are predicted to continue their strong showing for the second half of 2008 despite growing concerns surrounding the international financial market unrest, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Retail released by MasterCard.

All 12 Asia Pacific markets are expected to continue seeing positive growth in retail sales, with China taking the lead once again as it did in the same reporting period last year. Retail sales in China are estimated to reach 5566 billion Yuan, representing a sturdy 18% year-on-year growth. The outlook for Hong Kong continues to be bullish, with year on year growth predicted at 12.7%. Other markets with strong growth set against the backdrop of subdued economic outlook include Indonesia, Malaysia and Philippines, with year-on-year growth expected to reach 12%, 9.3% and 8.6% respectively.

On the other hand, markets which continue to remain less bullish as during the last reporting period include Taiwan, New Zealand and Japan, with a year on year growth still present but expected to reach 2.9%, 2.5% and 1%, respectively.

“In spite of the global slowdown and its impacts on Asia, employment and income remain relatively strong in the region; supporting consumer spending. The projected growth in retail sales needs to be put in perspective by taking account of the rise in inflation in most markets in Asia; which means that in real terms the projected growth is less robust than indicated,” Dr. Yuwa Hedrick Wong, economic advisor, MasterCard Worldwide, observes.

Forecast for 2nd half of 2008
Retail Sales Forecast Year on Year Growth
Australia A$104.5 billion 4.5%
China 5566 billion Yuan 18%
Hong Kong HK$136.8 billion 12.7%
Indonesia 276.8 trillion Rupiah 12%
Japan 61.8 trillion Yen 1%
Korea 125 trillion Won 5.3%
Malaysia 49.3 billion Ringgit 9.3%
New Zealand NZ$19 billion 2.5%
Philippines 592.3 billion Peso 8.6%
Singapore Sin$17.4 billion 5.2%
Taiwan NT$1729 billion 2.9%
Thailand 600 billion Baht 3.9%

Conducted twice a year in June and December, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Retail was launched in June 2003 by MasterCard as part of the company's commitment to providing research and insight for the wider business community in Asia Pacific. Combining 10 years of retail sales data, factoring in the secular trend of growth of the retail industry, and using the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence as an independent variable, the Index provides six-month forecasts of retail sales growth in 12 markets: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand.

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