Australia veers from APAC confidence

16 October 2014

SINGAPORE: Consumer confidence across Asia-Pacific has grown to its highest level in more than 10 years, although sentiment is notably downbeat in Australia, a new bi-annual survey has revealed.

According to the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, 12 out of 16 Asia-Pacific markets recorded positive sentiment while experiencing some or significant improvement over the past six months.

Collectively, the region posted 68.3 Index points in the first half of 2014, up 6.9 points since the second half of 2013, where 50 is used as the benchmark for neutral sentiment.

Myanmar (94.1 points), Indonesia (94.0 points) and India (89.1 points) recorded the region's highest consumer confidence scores while Bangladesh posted the highest rise, climbing 25.9 points to 66.4 on the Index.

Consumer confidence in Taiwan also increased by a large margin, rising 24.9 points to 57.6, and Thailand posted a double-digit rise of 14.6 points to 86.6.

Singapore saw a 13.2 point increase in consumer sentiment to take it into positive territory with an Index score of 60.6 points and consumer confidence also rose in New Zealand, where it climbed 10.8 points to 65.8.

However, Australia stood out with an Index score of just 37.2 points for the first half of 2014, representing a fall of 12 points since the end of last year.

This would appear to chime with findings in a global survey from research firm Nielsen in July that found consumer confidence in Australia had declined to 85 on the Nielsen measurement, the country's lowest score since it began measuring global sentiment in 2005.

Pierre Burret, head of delivery, quality & resource management for Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa at MasterCard Advisors, welcomed the survey results and urged emerging markets to continue their efforts to innovate.

He said: "The region's overall optimism for the future is an encouraging sign, and demonstrates the importance of continuing to innovate with partners in emerging markets like Myanmar, India and Indonesia, in efforts to drive economic growth."

12,574 adult respondents from 27 countries across Asia-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa took part in the survey, which was conducted between July and August 2014.

They were asked to give a six-month outlook on five key economic indicators – the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market, and quality of life.

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff