NEW DELHI: Indian consumers are the most optimistic in Asia Pacific regarding their economic prospects over the next six months, although many other markets in the region have witnessed heightened pessimism as the downturn begins to impact the area, MasterCard Worldwide says.

Based on a survey of 9,200 consumers in over 20 different markets, MasterCard Worldwide found that India's consumer confidence index score rose from 63.9 points in a similar study conducted six months ago to 68.0 at present.

Singapore, by contrast, saw its aggregate index total decline from 62.3 points in the previous survey to 31.2 points, with Hong Kong also posting a drop off from 41.8 points to 24.7 points overall.

Chinese participants also posted a decrease, from 76.6 points to 60.8 points, in this period, while their Japanese counterparts were more optimistic than six months ago, but still only recorded a cumulative average of 21.5 points in all.

For the region as a whole, confidence levels have fallen from 47.4 points in the second half of 2008 to 38.7 this year, a record low for the 17 years MasterCard has produced the Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence

Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, an economic advisor to MasterCard Worldwide, argued that "the impact of the global crisis on Asia has been massive, with exports declining steeply in most Asian markets."

This, he argues, means that in many countries, a "high level of uncertainty persists as to what the future may hold."

Data sourced from MasterCard Worldwide; additional content by WARC staff