World leaders in the economic PollyAnna stakes are India and New Zealand, topping the global league table of confidence in their local economies, job prospects and personal finances. So reports the biannual ACNielsen Consumer Confidence Index.
Languishing at the angst end of the spectrum is Portugal, where the index fell by 6 points to 60 during the survey period (May-November 2005). Germany and France are also said to be in need of cheer.
The Three Horsemen of the Apocalypse continuing to haunt consumers worldwide are the economy, job security and health. The economy tops the worry list for most Asian countries, as well as the US; while in Latin America job security is the big issue. Health is the main or second most important concern in Europe and North America.
Sixty-eight percent of consumers expect good or excellent job prospects over the next twelve months, compared with 54% in May. Similarly, more North Americans think now is a good time to make purchases. But a quarter of US residents say they "have no money left after essential living expenses" - though this figure is lower than six months previously.
The European index as a whole remains three points below the global average, although the figures rose in half the European countries surveyed. Economy-wise, the Norwegians, Danes and Irish are Europe's most optimistic consumers; the Germans, French and Portuguese most morose. In Belgium, Netherlands, Sweden, Finland and Spain, however, perceptions of job prospects have improved over the last six months.
The index increased in all four Latin American countries surveyed (Mexico, Argentina, Brazil and Chile), but remains below the global average in Brazil. Latin Americans are generally positive on employment and financial prospects, with 50% to 70% expecting to see improvements in the months ahead. The proportion of Brazilians claiming to have no money left after essential living expenses fell from 23% in May to 7%.
In nine of the thirteen countries surveyed, India boasted the highest number of respondents who think job prospects will be excellent, doubling over the survey period to 34%. Even the Japanese and South Koreans, with the lowest confidence indices globally, have become more optimistic. Asians are the world's biggest savers, with 52% (versus 40% globally) opting to save their spare cash.
Data sourced from MrWeb.com (UK); additional content by WARC staff