Singapore consumers more confident in economy despite Lee Kuan Yew's passing: ANZ-Roy Morgan survey

SINGAPORE - Consumers in Singapore are more confident about the economy and their personal and family finances in April compared to a month ago, a survey has found.

The ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence Index found the confidence level in the middle of this month to be at 125.7, up 1.2 points from March 15.

It said this was "clearly above its long-term average of 121.7".

"The rise was mainly driven by greater confidence about the outlook for the Singaporean economy over the next 12 months," said the report released on Wednesday.

Said ANZ chief economist for South Asia, Asean and the Pacific, Glenn Maguire: "Consumer confidence rose in April despite what we considered to be the considerable uncertainty over the impact on the Singaporean psyche of the passing of the founding father of Singapore, Lee Kuan Yew".

Prior to his death, Mr Maguire said, consumer confidence "appeared to be on a nascent recovery that we feared the passing of Lee Kuan Yew may arrest. Perhaps it is final and fitting tribute to Mr Lee and the solid foundations of the modern Singaporean economy that he has helped create that Singaporean confidence continues to recover despite his death".

ANZ-Roy Morgan first published the index in September last year with the aim of filling a gap in official statistics by providing more up-to-date data on consumption trends, ANZ economists have said.

The latest survey found that just under half of the respondents, 49 per cent, expect Singapore to have "good times" financially over the next 12 months, up two percentage points from March.

The figure was the highest for this indicator since July 2014.

On the flip side, only 9 per cent of respondents expect "bad times" financially for the country, down three percentage points from last month. This was the lowest for the indicator since July 2014.

The survey also found that 33 per cent, unchanged from previous month, of respondents said they expect their family to be "better off" financially in a year's time.

And only 6 per cent, also unchanged, of the respondents expect their family to be "worse off" financially, the ANZ-Roy Morgan report said.

Over the longer-term, 48 per cent of those surveyed said they expect Singapore to have "good times" financially during the next five years - the highest for this indicator since July 2014. This is one percentage point higher than in mid-March.

Only 8 per cent, unchanged from March, expect "bad times" financially.

When it comes to buying new household items, 18 per cent - up one point from March - say now is a "good time to buy".

Those who said now was a "bad time to buy" totalled 18 per cent of the respondents, down two percentage points, the report said.