MANILA, Philippines – As most Asians seemingly lost enthusiasm, Filipinos remained generally optimistic about the economic outlook in the next six months, a MasterCard survey showed.
Based on the Second Semester MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, Asia Pacific has fallen below the 60-point optimistic mark to neutral, with 12 of the 17 markets reflecting deterioration in confidence levels.
Respondents from the Philippines, however, remained very optimistic with 82.3 points and showed stable confidence levels.
“Filipinos are most confident about their regular income recording 86.9 points; the economy scoring 84.1 points; employment with 82.7 points; quality of life with 81.9 points; and lastly, the stock market with 75.8 points,” the report said.Meanwhile, stock market sentiment was the key driver of the decline, followed by prospects for employment in the region. The biggest decline in optimism levels were registered in Sri Lanka, Singapore and Taiwan.
According to MasterCard Advisors Region head for Asia Pacific Eric Schneider 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,” Schneider said.
On the other hand, Myanmar, Vietnam and India are extremely optimistic in their outlook for the next six months. For Myanmar and Vietnam, this was boosted by big improvements in stock market sentiment, which rose 21.6 points and 17.3 points, respectively. Consumer confidence in India stayed stable with consumers maintaining their extremely optimistic outlook.
The survey was conducted between November and December 2015, out of which 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
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).
On the other hand, people in the emerging markets of Myanmar, Vietnam and India are extremely optimistic about economic prospects over the next six months, with Myanmar showing the biggest improvement.
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 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.