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Middle East Consumer Confidence Level at 83.5

Dubai, UAE, 19 July 2012 –Consumers remain upbeat about the region’s future and its financial condition, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, released today. The aggregate Consumer Confidence score for the Middle East is very optimistic at 83.5.

The survey, conducted among 11,367 respondents between 24 April 2012 and 10 June 2012 in 25 countries, recorded a very optimistic score for Middle East consumer confidence, bringing the index to (83.5), significantly higher than Africa (76.1) and Asia/Pacific (57.2).

In the Middle East[1], Qatar topped the index with a remarkable score (96.6); followed by

Oman (91.5), Saudi Arabia (90.9), Egypt (90.7), United Arab Emirates (86.0) and Lebanon (44.3). The score for Egypt is at a record high (90.7), highlighting the positive sentiment among consumers amid the country’s recent political changes. India (82.1) was ranked as the most optimistic nation in Asia, whilst Morocco (94.1) moved past Nigeria (91.4) to gain the top spot in Africa.

Now in its 20th year and its 9th year in the Middle East and Africa, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the region’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. The Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market over the next six months, based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic 100 as the most optimistic. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance.

Consumer confidence in the Middle East is very optimistic at 83.5, and this sentiment is reflected across all five indicators. When compared to the previous edition of the Index released 6 months ago, respondents in the Middle East are most optimistic about Regular Income (89.8 vs. 91.3), Employment (85.5 vs. 85.5) and the Economy (84.4 vs. 86.5). Consumer sentiment towards Quality of Life (82.9 vs. 87.6) and the Stock Market (74.9 vs. 77.8) is also positive.

The Middle East’s aggregate score of 83.5 remains higher than that of Asia/ Pacific (57.2) and Africa (76.1).

H1 2012 Current Status

Change from last half

Middle East

83.5

Very Optimistic

-2.2

Stable –

Egypt

90.7

Extremely Optimistic

2.4

Stable +

Kuwait

84.7

Very Optimistic

-3.5

Stable –

Lebanon

44.3

Neutral –

-26.2

Extreme Deterioration

Oman

91.5

Extremely Optimistic

-2.1

Stable –

Qatar

96.6

Extremely Optimistic

3.0

Stable +

Saudi Arabia

90.9

Extremely Optimistic

7.0

Some Improvement

United Arab Emirates

86.0

Very Optimistic

3.8

Stable +


Methodology
 

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 24 April 2012 to 10 June 2012. A total of 11,367 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.

About MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard (NYSE: MA), www.mastercard.com, is a global payments and technology company. It operates 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.

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Contacts:

Jandre Nieuwoudt, Golin Harris – Dubai, +971 50 248 3351; jnieuwoudt@golinharris.com

Nadia Ejaz, Golin Harris – Dubai, +971 4 3323305; nejaz@golinharris.com

 


[1] Middle East: Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates