DUBAI: Consumer confidence levels are higher in the Middle East than is the case in either Asia Pacific or Africa, new figures show.

MasterCard, the financial services group, surveyed 11,339 people in 25 countries across these three regions, including eight Middle Eastern markets.

The average rating across this latter group of nations hit 81.1 points, down from 83.5 points in the second half of last year and 85.7 points in the first six months of 2012.

However, sentiment in the Middle East was more robust than in Asia Pacific, where the reading came in at 59.7 points, and also topped the 69.6 points registered in Africa.

Local totals peaked at 96.5 points in Qatar and 95.8 points in Kuwait. Oman was a close third on 95.6 points, just ahead of Saudi Arabia's score of 95.2 points. The UAE came next on 91.4 points.

"Consumer confidence levels in the UAE have been steadily increasing in our most recent indices, reflecting a positive outlook for key sectors and confidence in the UAE's plans and vision for the coming years," said Eyad Al-Kourdi, UAE country manager, MasterCard.

These markets all fell into the "extremely optimistic" category, and thus hold considerable potential for brands hoping to drive growth.

By contrast, figures fell to 66.6 points in Egypt, compared with 90.7 points at the back end of 2012, indicating the increasing economic, socialĀ and political challenges facing the country.

Popular opinion in Lebanon proved even more gloomy, on a modest 26.8 points, versus 44.3 points in the last research round.

Data sourced from MasterCard; additional content by Warc staff