SINGAPORE: Consumer confidence is growing across the Asia-Pacific region with political developments spurring particularly strong rises in Japan and South Korea, according to a new report.
The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence surveyed adults during April and May across 16 countries, including Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
It found, reported Campaign Asia-Pacific, that overall confidence had improved from the second half of 2012 by 1.2 index points to an average of 63.3.
Japan showed the most significant advance, leaping 37 points to an eight-year high of 60.7. South Korea, too, recorded an increase in confidence, rising 14.8 points to 53.5.
"The large jumps in consumer confidence seen in Japan can be attributed to the government's measures to tackle deflation, whereas in the case of South Korea it can be linked to the new government's strong measures to boost the domestic economy, particularly in property-related tax cuts," said Pierre Burret, Asia-Pacific head at MasterCard Advisors.
Taiwan was another market to register a major boost, more than doubling to 52.4 points. But these three countries where consumer confidence was growing fastest all remained below the regional average.
The most confident countries were Myanmar, which scored 96.0 index points, India, on 82.0 points, Indonesia, on 81.0 points, and the Philippines, on 79.9 points.
At the other end of the scale, Bangladesh, rocked by strikes, a recent high-profile disaster in the garment-making trade and general political uncertainty, plummeted 39.5 point to a score of just 22.2. Vietnam also stumbled, falling 16.1 points to 58.4.
In the overall index, four of the five indicators – employment, stock market, economy, regular income – showed increases with only the quality of life registering a drop, of 1.5 points.
Data sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific; additional content by Warc staff