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Consumers in India 'extremely optimistic' about economic prospects

India is the most optimistic market in Asia Pacific in terms of consumer confidence, according to theMasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence™. While consumers in Asia Pacific remain generally optimistic about the future, the level of optimism is beginning to recede in a number of markets besides India. At a score of 93.1 out of 100, India’s consumer confidence remains in ‘extremely optimistic’ territory and it is the only market among the 17 that is above 90 points.

A majority of Indians (91.5) are confident about employment prospects in the country and there has been a 3.1 point rise in the number of people who have a positive outlook on the economy, from 91.4 in H2 2014 to 94.5 in H1 2015. People also expressed optimism that their regular income may increase, as well as confidence that their quality of life may improve over the next six months. The highest levels of optimism were seen in the cities of New Delhi and Bangalore.

While optimism in India increased, the first half of 2015 saw confidence levels recede in a number of Asia Pacific markets, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand. These declines come off the back of a ten-year high in optimism levels in the second half of 2014 and reflect an increasingly uncertain economic outlook.

Key APAC finding

Collectively, Asia Pacific markets remain optimistic – levels of optimism remain stable at 66.1 Index points in H1 2015 compared to 68.3 Index points in H1 2014. This stability reflects the fact that the most pessimistic markets are showing signs of improvement while the most optimistic are showing decreased confidence.

Matthew Driver, Group Executive, Global Products & Solutions, Asia Pacific, MasterCard, said: “Consumer confidence is a more nuanced story for Asia Pacific in 2015 as economic uncertainty has begun to impact more developing markets. India is now the only market in Asia Pacific in which consumers are extremely optimistic about the future. The energy that Prime Minister Modi has brought to his reform agenda is being well received and having meaningful outcomes. Indeed the IMF is forecasting that India's economy will grow 7.5% this year, outpacing China for the first time since 1999. Chinese consumers also continued to be optimistic and with the survey period ahead of the recent stock market adjustments, were even more confident than in 2014. In comparison there was a significant moderation in consumer sentiment in a number of markets in Southeast Asia as the economic outlook has softened – specifically Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand, all of whom recorded double digit declines in confidence. There were also further falls in Malaysia.”

Additional country-level detail

·    People in Indonesia, Thailand and Myanmar remain generally optimistic but consumers have shown significant deterioration in their confidence from very high levels six months ago.

· Indonesia (64.3) showed the greatest decline in confidence levels of all the markets surveyed with a 25.8 point drop led by large decreases in confidence in the economy (-31.6) and the stock market (-29.7). Bank Indonesia’s own consumer confidence index also shows falling numbers due to shrinking job availability as well as declining income and business activity.

· Consumer Confidence in Thailand (72.8) showed significant deterioration with a 10.9 point decrease. The outlook on the economy (-15.3) and employment (-12.5) contributed most to the drop.

·  Myanmar’s (81.6) consumer confidence posted a 15.6 point decrease moving it out of the 94+ (extremely optimistic) territory for the first time since MasterCard started surveying the country in 2013. The decrease was led by declining optimism regarding the local stock market (local property market for Myanmar) at -31.8 points.

· Consumer confidence in China and Hong Kong were shown to be stable, remaining optimistic. However, it is very important to note that the survey was conducted between May and June, before the fall in the Chinese stock market. There was no indication that confidence in the stock market would fall, and in the survey, the local stock market component is in optimistic territory at 81.3 Index points for China and 80 Index points for Hong Kong.

· Meanwhile Australia, Taiwan, and Japan showed improvement in consumer confidence. However they started off at either a pessimistic or neutral base.

· Bangladesh falls 8 points to 75.3, driven downwards by a 21 point decline in confidence in the outlook of the local stock market (46.5). Sri Lanka makes its debut in the Index of Consumer Confidence at 67.5 putting it in optimistic territory.

·         Consumer confidence in Japan showed extreme improvement, increasing by 22.3 points. Solid economic growth in the first quarter and increased tourism spending from overseas is supporting the retail sector. According to MasterCard’s latestGlobal Destination Cities Index, two of the fastest growing tourist destinations in the world since 2009 are in Japan, Osaka and Tokyo.

· In Southeast Asia, Philippines (81.4), Singapore (65.3) and Vietnam (86.9) remain stable with increases of less than 5 points. Malaysia (44.9) moves further into pessimistic territory with -5 points.

·  Australia’s one year slide has abated somewhat in this survey with an increase of 5.4 points, but at 39.5 it still remains below the 50 point neutrality mark. New Zealand remains stable at 57.7 (+1.3).

Methodology

Between May and June 2015, MasterCard asked 8,718 urban, banked consumers, aged 18 to 64 in 17 Asia Pacific markets 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 0 as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

 

MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence 1H 2015

 

H1 2015 Current Status

Change from last half

Asia Pacific

66.1

Optimistic

0.6

Stable +

Australia

39.5

Pessimistic

5.4

Some Improvement

China

85.9

Very Optimistic

0.6

Stable +

Hong Kong

61.2

Optimistic

20.3

Extreme Improvement

India

93.1

Extremely Optimistic

1.5

Stable +

Indonesia

64.3

Optimistic

-25.8

Extreme Deterioration

Japan

56.6

Neutral +

22.3

Extreme Improvement

Korea

40.0

Neutral -

-3.6

Stable -

Malaysia

44.9

Neutral -

-5.0

Stable -

New Zealand

57.7

Neutral +

1.3

Stable +

Philippines

81.4

Very Optimistic

4.3

Stable +

Singapore

65.3

Optimistic

4.4

Stable +

Taiwan

49.6

Neutral -

15.7

Significant Improvement

Thailand

72.8

Optimistic

-10.9

Significant Deterioration

Vietnam

86.9

Very Optimistic

1.7

Stable +

Myanmar

81.6

Very Optimistic

-15.6

Significant Deterioration

Bangladesh

75.3

Very Optimistic

-8.0

Some Deterioration

Sri Lanka

67.5

Optimistic

 

 

 

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

 

 

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