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Consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific down, but emerging markets remain optimistic

Despite a slight decline in overall consumer confidence in Asia-Pacific, consumers in emerging markets remain optimistic, the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence released recently shows.

The report noted that consumer confidence in the region decreased 2.9 Index points to 65.5 Index points in the second half of 2014, from 68.3 Index points in the first half of the year.. However, the overall outlook is still optimistic.

Compared the the first half of 2014, only the Philippines (up 7.7 Index points) and Bangladesh (up 16.9 Index points) out of the 16 Asia Pacific markets surveyed recorded a greater than 5 Index point improvement in consumer confidence.

The report noted that Bangladesh recorded the single largest improvement in Asia-Pacific, moving from optimistic to very optimistic territory at 83.3 Index points, up 16.9 Index points. It is the only market that saw a double-digit rise in consumer sentiment.

Meanwhile, Myanmar, India and Indonesia are the Asia-Pacific region’s most optimistic markets, with 97.2 Index points, 91.6 Index points and 90.1 Index points, respectively. Vietnam (85.3 Index points) and Thailand (83.6 Index points) remain very optimistic and Singapore remains optimistic (60.9 Index points).

While consumer confidence in China (up 2.7 Index points to 85.3 Index points in H2 2014) and South Korea (up 1.7 Index points to 43.6 Index points) stayed stable with muted increases, their Northeast Asian counterparts posted the sharpest declines in consumer confidence, led by Taiwan (down 23.8 Index points to 33.8 Index points), Japan (down 17.6 Index points to 34.2 Index points) and Hong Kong (down 13.5 Index points to 40.9 Index points).

All three markets plunged below the 50 point neutral mark from the previous survey, according to the report.

Additional declines were recorded in Australia (down 3.2 Index points to 34.1 Index points in H2 2014) keeping it in pessimistic territory, while New Zealand inched closer to the 50 point neutral mark after falling 9.4 Index points to 56.4 Index points. Australia’s score is the lowest since the financial crisis low in H1 2009.

“The slight drop in Asia-Pacific’s consumer confidence reflects an outlook of cautious optimism. Consumers across the region are holding their breath for signs of sustained economic growth and opportunity,” said Pierre Burret, Head of Delivery, Quality & Resource Management for Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa, MasterCard Advisors.

The Index is based on a survey conducted between October 2014 and November 2014 on 8,235 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 16 countries across Asia-Pacific.