Consumer Confidence Soars in Asia/Pacific According to Latest MasterIndex Survey

Thursday 15 January 2004 02:13 CET | News

Consumer sentiment in Asia/Pacific for the first six months of 2004 has rebounded significantly from its depressed levels of June last year during the Iraq War, SARS outbreak and escalating threat of terrorism, according to MasterCards latest MasterIndex of Consumer Confidence survey. Overall, the current MasterIndex average of 64.9 has just about caught up with the surveys pre-Asian economic crisis average (65.3) recorded in mid-1997 and exceeds its historical average (55.2). Thailand, Malaysia and Vietnam - which made its MasterIndex debut - topped the list of highly positive markets; while Hong Kong, Australia, Singapore and Taiwan, were the most improved. Of the 13 markets surveyed, only Indonesia, Korea, the Philippines and Japan had a pessimistic view of the six months ahead, although Japan is noted for its marked improvement in outlook from the last survey. A total of 5,447 people were surveyed between 27 October and 15 December 2003 for this report. Highlights include: - Remaining in top position from the previous survey is Thailand with its record high score of 95.1, followed closely by Malaysia with its record high score of 93.5. Thailands score is the second highest ever achieved by any market in the surveys 11 years of history (the highest: Indonesias 95.9 in June 1997). - Vietnam makes its debut with a highly optimistic outlook (91.0). - China is up again (83.7) post-SARS after its confidence dip in the previous report. - Impressive improvements in outlook were manifested by Hong Kong (81.1), which has bounced back significantly from the pessimism seen in the last five consecutive MasterIndex reports; Australia (80.9) and New Zealand (73.7) with near record highs; Taiwan (65.7) and Singapore (65.3), which have made remarkable recoveries from recent bouts of near record low consumer confidence. - Japan, has historically remained in the pessimistic range under the MasterIndex score. However, in this survey it has made a marked improvement with its highest score (31.8) since June 2000. The twice yearly survey is the most comprehensive and longest running consumer sentiment survey in the Asia/Pacific region. Covering 13 markets the survey is conducted in June and December to analyze prevailing consumer perceptions of economic conditions for the six-month period ahead. The scores ranging between 0 and 100 are based on responses to questions on five variables; employment, economy, regular income, stock market and quality of life. MASTERINDEX COUNTRY FINDINGS AUSTRALIA Australias current MasterIndex of 80.9 well surpasses where it was at six months (45.3) and a year ago (44.6), as well as its historical average (55.6). It clearly shows that Australians have rarely been as optimistic as they are now about employment (72.8), the economy (80.0), regular income (87.3), stock market (83.5) and especially quality of life (81.0), at its highest level on record. In the history of the MasterIndex, this is only the second time that Australians have been as optimistic about all five economic factors for the next six months. CHINA Consumer confidence in China has rebounded (83.7) having fallen off sharply with its previous MasterIndex score of 68.0, which was at its lowest level since the Asian economic crisis in 1997. Chinese consumers expectations of all five economic variables are highly positive, particularly with regard to the economy (96.3), quality of life (95.8) and regular income (90.4). In line with the last four MasterIndex reports, their view on the stock market (63.5) remains relatively subdued, although still optimistic. Chinas three major urban centers have followed suit. Shanghai (86.0) continues to be slightly more hopeful than Beijing (84.6) and Guangzhou (80.1). HONG KONG After five consecutively pessimistic MasterIndex readings, Hong Kong consumers have now emerged with an optimistic outlook on all five economic factors for the first time since June 2001. Its MasterIndex of 81.1 is its second highest on record, more than three times higher than six months ago (23.2) and a year ago (21.3), and much m

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Categories: Payments & Commerce | Payments General
Countries: World
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Payments & Commerce