Singapore consumer confidence edges up in November but overall sentiment still weak

Consumer confidence has improved marginally in Singapore, but uncertainties continue to weigh on sentiments, a survey showed.
Consumer confidence has improved marginally in Singapore, but uncertainties continue to weigh on sentiments, a survey showed.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Consumer confidence looks to have improved marginally in Singapore, but uncertainties continue to weigh on sentiments, the results of a recent survey showed.

The latest ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence Index inched up 0.2 points in November from October to 125.2 points this month, which was also 4.3 points higher compared with a year ago.

"The narrow miss of a technical recession during the third quarter and a slight adjustment to monetary policy settings in October probably saw local households enter November with a slightly more optimistic disposition," ANZ chief economist for South Asia, Asean and Pacific Glenn Maguire said on Wednesday (Nov 25) when announcing the survey results.

Singapore's economy avoided a technical recession in the third quarter when official figures released last month put the three-month growth at 0.1 per cent compared with a quarter ago.

Also in October, the Monetary Authority of Singapore announced that it will reduce the appreciation rate of the Singapore dollar - the second policy easing so far this year.

Still, Singapore households are aware that the outlook will remain choppy, Mr Maguire noted.

"The proportion of Singaporeans who are confident about the economic and financial outlook remains particularly low. We note that only 31 per cent of respondents believe that their families are better off financially than they were a year ago.

"On the overall economy, Singaporeans are more optimistic, but hardly sanguine. 52 per cent of respondents believe the country's prospects to remain good over the next year."

Reflecting the concerns, the survey revealed that only 19 per cent of respondents are willing to purchase major household items at the moment.

Against that backdrop, "it is highly unlikely that domestic demand, especially consumption, will emerge as an offset to a challenging external environment anytime soon," Mr Maguire warned.