KUALA LUMPUR: A majority of Malaysian consumers are in upbeat mood, resulting in rising sales across numerous categories within the FMCG sector.

Nielsen, the research firm, reported that its regular barometer of popular sentiment in Malaysia stood at 110 points in the second quarter of 2011.

This constituted an improvement from 105 points in the first quarter of 2011, and from 107 points in the fourth quarter of 2010.

Elsewhere, the company's survey of 500 adults found 77% of participants believed their employment prospects were either "good" or "excellent", up from 72% quarter on quarter.

Malaysia came in well ahead of the Asia Pacific average of just 57% when discussing overall confidence in the job market, Nielsen stated.

Two-thirds of Malaysian interviewees also described their individual financial circumstances as "good" or "excellent", beating the 60% posted in the country in Q1 2011.

Nielsen argued the comparative optimism displayed by respondents resulted from Malaysia's strong economic growth, increased government spending and rising private sector investment.

One outcome of this widespread positivity was a 9.3% surge in the value sales of fast-moving consumer goods in Q2 2011, excluding beer, cigarettes and shandy.

Dairy products saw a 15% improvement in value sales year on year, with health and wellness brands growing by 13.3%, dry grocery expanding by 10.4%, and personal care up 9.3%.

The main sources of anxiety for the panel when looking forward six months were the economy, mentioned by 18%, increasing fuel prices, with 16%, and food price inflation, on 13%.

Data sourced from Malaysia Star; additional content by Warc staff