Posted by Gilmour Poincaree on November 17, 2008


Filipino consumers have grown more despondent and are among the most pessimistic in Asia with a BREATH/VOLUME MOMENTUM OSCILLATORconfidence index of 40 against a 47.4 average in the region during the first half and from a far higher 67.7 a year ago, results from the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence released yesterday showed.

Most Asian consumers are pessimistic on the six month period ahead, the survey showed.

While consumers in Vietnam, China, India and Singapore relatively remained optimistic; Hong Kong and Taiwan consumers registered steep declines in consumer confidence levels.

Consumer confidence across the region has dropped seven points from six months ago, as a result of current economic volatility and the prospect of a global economic recession.

The current regional consumer confidence score of 47.4 is significantly below the score six months ago of 55 and a year ago of 67.3, according to Mastercard.

The level, however, remained higher than the 1997-1998 Asian economic crisis average of 32.3.

Overall consumer outlook has also fallen across the five indicators that make up the index compared to six months ago: employment (41.2 vs 54.2 six months ago), economy (42.1 vs 51.8), quality of life (44.0 vs 48.2) and the stock market (45.5 vs 53.4) and regular income (64.3 vs 72.2).

The index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectation in the market for the next six months. It is calculated based upon percentage response figures, with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

Only four out of the 14 markets surveyed — Vietnam, China, India and Singapore — were optimistic SHOPPERSabout the first half of next year. Vietnam tops the index with a score of 88.1 and the only market that has increased its score from six months ago.

China (76.6), India (63.9) and Singapore (62.3) remain optimistic about the first half of 2009 but they are less optimistic than they were six months ago (China: 82.7; India: 82.1; Singapore: 87.3).

Thai consumers continue to be pessimistic, though confidence levels have risen slightly from six months ago (23.7). The current score is, however, much lower than a year ago (44.2).

At the other end of the spectrum, nine markets are pessimistic about the first half of 2009, with Hong Kong (41.8 vs. 83.1 six months ago) and Taiwan (32.1 vs. 71.3 six months ago) recording the biggest declines.

“Consumers across AsiaPacific are clearly feeling the effects of the global credit crisis. While Asian financial institutions may be less affected by the global credit crunch and the financial sector melt down, Asian markets have been just as severely suffered the impact; and the regional powerhouses like China and India are equally affected. While the consumer confidence scores in China and India are still optimistic, confidence levels are still much lower than they were before,” Dr Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor to MasterCard in Asia-Pacific said.

The latest survey was conducted from Sept. 1 to 29 2008 and involved 6,019 consumers across 14 key Asia-Pacific markets.



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