Positive Sentiment Recorded Across Most of 14 Asia/Pacific Markets; Emerging Markets Most Optimistic as Developed Markets Struggle
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Singapore, 7 February 2013 – Consumers in Asia/Pacific remain optimistic despite uncertainty in the global economy led by huge surges in confidence in the emerging markets of Indonesia and Philippines, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide IndexTM of Consumer Confidence, released today.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence (“Index”) is based on a survey conducted between 7 November to 23 December 2012 on 11,339 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 25 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. This is the 40th survey of Consumer Confidence conducted since 1993.
Now in its 20th year the Index is Asia/Pacific’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their 6 month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance.
Nine out of 14 Asia/Pacific markets polled recorded positive sentiment when compared to the first half of 2012. Overall, Asia/Pacific saw a slight increase from 57.2 Index points in the first half of 2012 to 59.7 Index points with improvement recorded in most key indicators: employment (54.0 to 56.6 Index points), economy (51.8 to 57.2 Index points), quality of life (51.7 to 55.3 Index points) and stock market (56.5 to 57.6 Index points). Regular income remained the same at 71.9 Index points.
Extreme improvements were recorded in Indonesia, where consumer confidence jumped 30.1 Index points (from 57.4 to 87.5), and the Philippines, which rose 13.6 Index points (from 65.2 to 78.8). Both Indonesia and Philippines are benefiting from rising investment from both domestic and international investors in spite of uncertainty in the global economy and soft global demand for exports from Asia/Pacific, which provides robust support of growth overall while boosting consumer confidence.
The largest deterioration in consumer confidence was recorded in South Korea, down from a positive 51.3 Index points to a negative 38.6 Index points. South Korea, which is tightly linked to the global trade cycle, is also facing stiff competition from Japan in markets where their exports of capital goods compete head to head.
New Zealand also saw a drop in confidence (from 51.0 to 42.7 Index points), alongside smaller deteriorations in Thailand (from 75.8 to 69.6 Index points), Vietnam (from 77.2 to 74.5 Index points) and Singapore (from 52.9 to 50.0 Index points).
“The Asia/Pacific region is increasingly divided between markets that are still closely linked with the global trade cycle, and those that have been able to delink themselves from it. This trend is reflected in the latest MasterCard consumer confidence survey,” observes Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, global economic advisor for MasterCard Worldwide.
“The strong improvement in consumer sentiment in Indonesia and Philippines are cases in point. The results of the consumer confidence survey provide additional evidence that it is critically important to be able to leverage domestic demand effectively to support economic growth in the context of weakened global demand.”
MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence 2H 2012
Respondents were asked 5 questions pertaining to their 6-month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in 5 component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the 5 component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.
About the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region. In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.
The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty five markets now participate in the survey: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from 7 November to 23 December 2012. A total of 11,339 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 25 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market.
The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers’ thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four to five percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.
MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, Online Shopping, Index of Financial Literacy, and the Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).
MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004.
MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard Worldwide and published by John Wiley & Sons.
MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a technology company in the global payments industry. We operate the world’s fastest payments processing network, connecting consumers, financial institutions, merchants, governments and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. MasterCard’s products and solutions make everyday commerce activities – such as shopping, traveling, running a business and managing finances – easier, more secure and more efficient for everyone. Follow us on Twitter @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Cashless Conversations Blog and subscribe for the latest news.
Georgette Tan, MasterCard Worldwide, email@example.com, +65 6390 5971
Robert O’Brien, Weber Shandwick, firstname.lastname@example.org, +65 6825 8064
 Asia/Pacific: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. Excludes Myanmar and Bangladesh which are new additions to the Index.