12 of 17 markets recorded declines in MasterCard’s Index of Consumer Confidence but the emerging markets of Myanmar, Vietnam and India are still extremely optimistic in their outlook

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Singapore, 10 February 2016 – For the first time since 2012, consumers in Asia Pacific are not optimistic about the immediate future, according to the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence (H2 2015) released today. Asia Pacific has fallen below the 60 point optimistic mark to neutral, with 12 of the 17 markets seeing a deterioration in confidence levels. Stock market sentiment was the key driver of the decline followed by prospects for employment. The biggest decline in optimism levels was seen in Sri Lanka, followed by Singapore, and Taiwan.

Myanmar, Vietnam and India on the other hand are extremely optimistic in their outlook for the next six months. For Myanmar[1] and Vietnam, this was boosted by big improvements in stock market sentiment which rose by 21.6 points and 17.3 points, respectively. Consumer confidence in India stayed stable with consumers maintaining their extremely optimistic outlook.

Between November and December 2015, 8,779 respondents, aged 18 to 64 in 17 Asia Pacific markets, were asked to give a six-month outlook on five economic factors including the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market and their quality of life. The Index is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

Eric Schneider, Region Head, Asia Pacific, MasterCard Advisors, said: “The decline of consumer confidence in Asia Pacific reflects the continued uncertainty in the global economic environment. In particular, recent stock market turbulence has significantly impacted consumer outlook. However, a number of emerging markets are bucking this trend, namely, Myanmar, Vietnam and India, which are all continuing to see strong economic growth. So while Asia Pacific’s overall confidence has dampened and growth has slowed, its markets will still play a key role in driving global growth in 2016.”

Key APAC findings

  • Overall, the Asia Pacific markets saw a deterioration in confidence, falling 6.4 points to 59.7 points in H2 2015 from 66.1 points in H1 2015. Eight of the 17 markets surveyed are now below the 50 point neutral mark compared to four in the previous survey conducted in H1 2015.
  • There were declines across all five key economic indicators for Asia Pacific: stock market (-10.8 to 52.0), employment (-7.1 to 59.8), economy (-6.7 to 56.2), quality of life (-4.7 to 57.4) and regular income prospects (-2.9 to 72.9).
  • People in the emerging markets of Myanmar, Vietnam and India however are extremely optimistic about economic prospects over the next six months, with Myanmar showing the biggest improvement.
  • Compared to H1 2015, only Myanmar (+14.1), Indonesia (+12.2) and Vietnam (+7.3) out of the 16 Asia Pacific marketssurveyed recorded a greater than 5 point improvement in consumer confidence.
  • Declines were recorded in 12 out of 16 Asia Pacific markets, with extreme deterioration in Sri Lanka (-25.2), Singapore (-20.9) and Taiwan (-20.6). The decreases recorded in Korea, Malaysia and Taiwan moved these markets from Neutral into pessimistic territory, while Australia – the only pessimistic market in the previous survey – moved from pessimistic to neutral.

Country-level detail

  • Consumer confidence in both China (74.6) and Hong Kong (44.4) posted significant declines of 11.3 points and 16.8 points, respectively. Confidence in the stock market plummeted by 40.6 points in Hong Kong and had the most negative impact on the country’s overall score. Comparatively, China only suffered a 15.1 point drop in stock market sentiment despite the volatility in the Chinese stock market since the middle of 2015.
  • Taiwan (28.9), which showed extreme deterioration from six months ago, also saw a decrease in confidence in the stock market (-28.4) and employment (-24.2), and now has the lowest score in the region.
  • While Thailand’s consumer confidence remains in optimistic territory (66.6) despite a drop of 6.1 points, sentiment is at its lowest level since late 2011.
  • Singapore (44.3) moved from optimistic into neutral territory after falling 20.9 points, led by extreme deterioration in stock market sentiment (-32.8), the economy (-26.9) and employment (-20.1).
  • India’s consumer confidence remains in extremely optimistic territory (90.2) with only a 2.9 point decline from the last survey. Bangladesh (67.3) saw some deterioration (-8.0) but its overall score remains optimistic.
  • Sri Lanka (42.2) showed the greatest decline in confidence levels of all markets surveyed with a 25.2 point drop, with all indicators suffering more than 20 point losses except for regular income which fell by a relatively smaller margin (-7). The depreciating rupee which has contributed to rising inflation has dampened the outlook in Sri Lanka.
  • Australia (42.4, +2.9) and New Zealand (52.0, -5.7) remain relatively stable although New Zealand suffered a deterioration of 17.5 points in their optimism levels for employment (41.8, -17.5).

MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence Data – H2 2015

H2 2015 Current Status Change from last half
Asia Pacific 59.7 Neutral + -6.4 Some Deterioration
Australia 42.4 Neutral – 2.9 Stable +
China 74.6 Optimistic -11.3 Significant Deterioration
Hong Kong 44.4 Neutral – -16.8 Significant Deterioration
India 90.2 Extremely Optimistic -2.9 Stable –
Indonesia 76.5 Very Optimistic 12.2 Significant Improvement
Japan 46.9 Neutral – -9.7 Some Deterioration
Korea 33.8 Pessimistic -6.2 Some Deterioration
Malaysia 32.0 Pessimistic -13.0 Significant Deterioration
New Zealand 52.0 Neutral + -5.7 Some Deterioration
Philippines 82.3 Very Optimistic 0.9 Stable +
Singapore 44.3 Neutral – -20.9 Extreme Deterioration
Taiwan 28.9 Pessimistic -20.6 Extreme Deterioration
Thailand 66.6 Optimistic -6.1 Some Deterioration
Vietnam 94.2 Extremely Optimistic 7.3 Some Improvement
Myanmar 95.7 Extremely Optimistic 14.1 Significant Improvement
Bangladesh 67.3 Optimistic -8.0 Some Deterioration
Sri Lanka 42.2 Neutral – -25.2 Extreme Deterioration

 

Index Score Current Status Change in Index Points from last half
Lower Range Upper Range Qualitative  Statement Lower Range Upper Range Qualitative  Statement
0 10 Extremely Pessimistic -100 -20 Extreme Deterioration
10 25 Very Pessimistic -20 -10 Significant Deterioration
25 40 Pessimistic -10 -5 Some Deterioration
40 50 Neutral – -5 0 Stable –
50 60 Neutral + 0 5 Stable +
60 75 Optimistic 5 10 Some Improvement
75 90 Very Optimistic 10 20 Significant Improvement
90 100 Extremely Optimistic 20 100 Extreme Improvement

Methodology 

Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their six-month outlook on the economy, their employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects, and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in five component indexes which were subsequently averaged to form the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (MICC) score. The MICC 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 Index™ of Consumer Confidence

The MasterCard 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.

It 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 began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Seventeen Asia Pacific markets now participate in the survey: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Index suite in Asia Pacific includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including  Online Shopping, Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

About MasterCard

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 @MasterCardAP and @MasterCardNews, join the discussion on the Beyond the Transaction Blog and subscribe for the latest news on the Engagement Bureau.

Contacts

Georgette Tan, MasterCard, georgette_tan@mastercard.com, +65 6390 5971

Samantha Yong, Weber Shandwick, samyong@webershandwick.com, +65 6825 8053

[1] Myanmar uses the property market as a proxy for the stock market