Asia-Pacific survey finds consumers still pessimistic

By Helen Ku  /  Staff reporter

Fri, Feb 22, 2013 - Page 13

The consumer confidence index improved to 33.1 from 25.7 six months ago, but it shows that consumers are still pessimistic about the economic outlook over the next six months, a recent survey by credit card group MasterCard said.

Taiwan scored a point lower than 14 countries and territories in the Asia-Pacific region, only surpassing Japan, which had 23.7 points.

Taiwan’s consumer confidence index remains below the 50-point threshold, indicating that consumers are still downbeat about the nation’s economic outlook.

The survey indicates consumers believe the nation’s economy will recover gradually through the second half of the year, as reflected in the rebound in four of five sub-indise. The sub-indices for the stock market, quality of life, employment and economy all rebounded. Only regular income sub-index dropped, from 41.9 to 40.2.

Compared with the 25.7 points in consumer confidence index posted for the January-to-June period this year, the figure was a mild improvement, indicating that Taiwanese are gaining confidence about economic recovery in the second half.

The consumer confidence index in South Korea, Taiwan’s major rival in the global market, also fell below the 50-point benchmark to 38.6 points.

Overall, despite instability in the global economy, the 11,339 participants, who ranged from 18 to 64 years of age, said they remained upbeat about the economic outlook for the second half of the year as the average consumer confidence index for the 14 stands above the 50-point benchmark at 59.7, up from 57.2 reported for the first half of the year.

The survey was conducted between Nov. 7 and Dec. 23 last year.