According to the latest MasterCard Worldwide
Index of Consumer Confidence, consumers in China and India remain optimistic
about the next six months, despite a widespread drop in consumer
confidence across 16 markets in the Asia Pacific, Middle East and
Other markets which remain
optimistic about the next six months include Qatar (71.4), South
Africa (67.3), Saudi Arabia (67.1), Lebanon (64.4) and Vietnam
India and China registered scores of 68.0 and 60.8
India in particular shines as one of the few markets
with a lift in its consumer confidence score from six months ago.
Its consumer confidence score increased from 63.9 six months ago
to 68.0. It is among the four markets which have seen an increase
in consumer confidence, with the other markets being Indonesia
(49.2 from 38.5), Japan (21.5 from 17.2) and Taiwan (39.4 from
Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor to
MasterCard Worldwide in Asia Pacific said, “The impact of the
global crisis on Asia has been massive, with exports declining
steeply in most Asian markets, in some cases up to 40% between the
summer of 2008 and March 2009. Currently market conditions
continue to be volatile; and a high level of uncertainty persists
as to what the future may hold. In Asia Pacific, there is a sharp
divide between markets with consumers sinking into
deeper pessimism; and markets where consumer optimism
has stood up well in spite of the general deterioration
of economic conditions globally and at home.
particular stands out, where consumer confidence actually
increased compared to six months ago. Chinese consumers remain
confident about their future; although the level of confidence has
dropped compared with last year. Consumer outlook in Vietnam also
remains optimistic, albeit at a lower level as well. It is also
worth pointing out that consumer sentiments in Indonesia have
turned from negative to neutral for the first time since 2007.
These are outstanding results given the prevailing economic
“In sharp contrast, consumer outlook in other
Asian markets continues to be pessimistic. This sharp divide
reflects, to a large extent, the difference in consumers’
perception of the strength of their domestic economy, and how well
it could weather the global storm. So it is not surprising that
economic growth is expected to be positive in real terms in China,
India, Vietnam and Indonesia in 2009. Indeed, it is due to these
markets that Asia (excluding Japan) is projected to grow by over
5% this year, compared with more than a 3% contraction in OECD
countries. Asia thus leads all other regions in the world in
growth this year. Similarly, the Middle East is expected to have
positive economic growth this year, although at a level below that
of Asia. Hence, consumer confidence remains positive in the key
markets in the Middle East, with the exceptions of Egypt and UAE.”
The average consumer confidence score of markets
in Asia Pacific (38.7) has dipped from six months ago (47.4)
and a year ago (56.0), though it is higher than the 1997-98 Asian
economic crisis average of 32.3.
Overall consumer outlook has
fallen across the five indicators that make up the Index compared
to six months ago: Employment (30.3 vs. 41.2 six months ago),
Economy (38.7 vs. 42.1 six months ago), Quality of Life (39.2 vs.
44.0 six months ago), the Stock Market (41.1 vs. 45.5 six months
ago) and Regular Income (44.2 vs. 64.3 six months ago).
three out of the 14 Asia Pacific markets surveyed – China, India
and Vietnam – are optimistic about the second half of 2009. India
(68.0) has the highest score among the Asia Pacific markets, with
Indian consumers optimistic about Regular Income (70.0) and
Quality of Life (74.5).
While China (60.8) and Vietnam (60.9)
remain optimistic about the second half of 2009, they are less
optimistic than they were six months ago (China at 76.6; Vietnam
Ten Asia Pacific markets are pessimistic about the
second half of 2009, with Singapore (31.2 vs. 62.3 six months
ago), Vietnam (60.9 vs. 88.1 six months ago), Australia (24.1 vs.
49.0 six months ago) and Hong Kong (24.7 vs. 41.8 six months ago)
recording the biggest decline in confidence scores. Indonesian
consumers have turned from pessimism to being neutral in their
outlook (49.2 vs. 38.5 six months ago).
Middle East and Africa
The average consumer confidence score of markets in the Middle
East and Africa (53.9) has dipped from six months ago (74.0) and a
year ago (68.2). This is also lower than its historical average of
Overall consumer outlook has fallen across the five
indicators that make up the Index compared to six months ago:
Employment (54.7 vs. 73.2 six months ago), Economy (53.1 vs. 74.4
six months ago), Quality of Life (54.4 vs. 75.0 six months ago), the Stock Market
(40.0 vs. 60.8 six months ago) and Regular Income (67.4 vs. 86.9
six months ago).
Four out of the seven markets surveyed –
Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and South Africa – are optimistic
about the second half of 2009. Qatar tops the Index with a score
of 71.4. Although still optimistic, consumer confidence levels in
all four markets have dropped from six months ago: Lebanon (64.4
vs. 69.1 six months ago), Qatar (71.4 vs. 76.2) Saudi Arabia (67.1
vs. 72.4) and South Africa (67.3 vs. 78.7).
pessimistic markets in the Middle East and Africa are Egypt (32.3
vs. 55.6 six months ago) and United Arab Emirates (29.6 vs. 75.4
six months ago). Overall consumer outlook for both Egypt and
U.A.E. has fallen across all five indicators that make up the
Index compared to six months ago.
Now in its 17th year, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of
Consumer Confidence is one of the region’s most comprehensive and longest
running consumer confidence surveys. Released twice a year, the
Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on
prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months. It
is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most
optimistic and 50 as neutral.
The latest survey was conducted from
23 March to 18 April 2009 and involved 9,211 consumers
from the following 21 markets: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India,
Indonesia, Japan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, New Zealand,
Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa,
Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam.
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