Consumers in Southeast Asia - the world's most optimistic - feeling less so

Shoppers walk in a shopping arcade in Tokyo, Japan.
Shoppers walk in a shopping arcade in Tokyo, Japan.PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

SINGAPORE - Even the most upbeat consumers in the world - hello Southeast Asia - are starting to feel gloomier.

Home to more than 600 million consumers, the region scored 112 on Nielsen's second quarter consumer confidence index where 100 is the line between sunny and gloomy.

However, apart from the Philippines, where consumer sentiment rose seven points to the country's all-time high of 122, all other Southeast Asian countries posted a drop in confidence.

Singapore lost 1 point to 99, falling into pessimism, while Malaysia fell 5 points to 89. Indonesia and Thailand shed 3 points to 120 and 111, respectively, on the back of dimming economic outlook for the coming six months.

Vietnam tumbled 8 points to 104, marking the region's biggest quarterly decline.

Nielsen polled more than 30,000 consumers in 60 countries for their views on job prospects, personal finances and buying decisions.

The global score was a gloomy 96. The rest of Asia-Pacific stood at 107, followed by North America's 101, Africa/Middle East's 94 and Latin America's 83. Europe clocked in at 79, making it the most pessimistic region worldwide.

Said its senior vice-president Louise Keely: "Even as sentiment about consumers' own personal situations has risen in recent years, there is still a widespread concern among consumers about recession."