Sat, Dec 11, 2010 - Page 12 News List

Consumer confidence still positive

By Crystal Hsu  /  Staff Reporter

Consumers across the Asia-Pacific region remain optimistic about the economic and financial picture ahead, although the consumer confidence index fell marginally from six months earlier, a survey by MasterCard Worldwide showed yesterday.

The MasterCard Worldwide Consumer Confidence Index stood at 68 — well above the neutral threshold, but down from 69.1 in the previous poll — indicating a general upbeat sentiment as the region continued to recover from the global financial crisis, the report said.

“The scores indicate that while consumers may perceive the worst of the crisis as being behind them, they remain cautious about the economic prospects in the coming six months,” regional market development executive Yvette Oh (胡寶蘭) said.

She attributed the cautious approach to an expected slowdown in regional economic growth next year, the risk of inflation and tightening measures by governments to rein in capital inflows.

“Still, it is encouraging to see a positive perception among the respondents on the outlook of the economy, employment and quality of life,” Oh said.

The semi-annual survey, which questioned 10,502 people between Sept. 13 and Nov. 11, assigned Taiwanese consumers a score of 62.5, down from the previous reading of 65.7, which ranked ninth in the region, the report said.

Taiwanese consumers were generally upbeat about the local bourse and job market, with the stock and employment sub--indexes standing at 65.4 and 62.4 respectively, the report said. They expressed similar confidence about the economy (65.3) and regular income (61.9), the report said.

Meanwhile, Taiwanese respondents expected their quality of life to improve in the next six months, the report said.

Consumers in emerging Vietnam expressed the most confidence, with a score of 90.3, followed by their peers in Singapore and the Phillipines, at 86.1 and 80.1 respectively, the survey showed.

Chinese and Hong Kong consumers ranked fourth and fifth with scores of 79.4 and 74.7 respectively, the report said.

Japanese consumers expressed the most bleak sentiment about the upcoming six months, with a score of 20.2 — the only market in the region below the neutral threshold — the report indicated.

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