Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Filipino consumers optimistic

Daniel Anne B. Nepomuceno and Reuters

FILIPINO CONSUMERS have become more optimistic about the economy and job prospects in the next six months than they were last year, in line with an improving sentiment of most consumers across Asia and the Pacific, according to a MasterCard survey released yesterday.

The latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey showed the consumer confidence index for the Philippines at 59.3 points, up from 49.7 six months ago and from 40.5 a year ago.

The index score, which measures consumer expectations on the economy, employment, stock market, regular income and quality of life in the next six months, has zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

The survey showed Filipino consumers have improved their sentiment in all five indicators: regular income (84.6 from 69.9 six months ago), stock market (50.0 from 47.3), the economy (58.0 from 46.4), employment (53.7 from 43.4) and quality of life (50.2 from 41.8).

Eight of the 14 Asia-Pacific markets polled reflected improved consumer sentiment as robust economic growth ignited a sense of optimism.

Ten of the 14 covered Asia-Pacific economies were found to have higher levels of consumer confidence than the Philippines. In descending order, they were: Vietnam, Singapore, China, Hong Kong, Australia, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Taiwan, and Indonesia. Found less optimistic than the Philippines were South Korea, Thailand and Japan.

Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines were the most confident their incomes would increase within the next six months and even pessimism levels in Japan, which is struggling to shake off an economic recession, were declining.

The entire survey, which in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific involved more than 10,500 people, gave Asia and the Pacific an index score of 69.1 compared to 66.3 six months ago.

"The Asia-Pacific region rebounded in economic growth as early as the second half of last year, and regional recovery has continued to gain traction this year," a statement quoted Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard Worldwide’s economic adviser for the Asia Pacific, as saying.

"While consumers in this region were amongst the first to cut back drastically on discretionary spending 18 months ago, they now seem confident and ready to significantly increase their discretionary expenditures... thereby contributing to the momentum of recovery," he noted.

The survey, which was conducted from March 15 to April 12 this year, also found that younger respondents, aged below 30, were more optimistic than their older counterparts.

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