Singapore consumers slightly more optimistic this month but not so hopeful of future prosperity, survey shows

Shoppers at Suntec City Mall on Aug 17, 2014.  -- PHOTO: ST FILE
Shoppers at Suntec City Mall on Aug 17, 2014.  -- PHOTO: ST FILE

Consumers here are slightly more optimistic this month a survey shows - but they are mostly unsure that they will be better off financially in a year's time or that Singapore's economy will be good in the next five years.

The monthly ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence Index, released on Wednesday, edged up 0.7 points to 120.9 in November from the previous month. The index is now almost up to the 2014 average of 121.0.

Lookong ahead though, less than one-third of the survey's respondents said that their families will be "better off" financially in a year's time. Under half of respondents believe that Singapore will have good times economically over the next five years.

Said ANZ Chief Economist South Asia, ASEAN & Pacific, Glenn Maguire: "The weakness in the data showing a clear lack of confidence in the financial and economic outlook on both 12-month and 5-year timeframes speak loudest to us about the adverse spillovers of supply-side restructuring."

Mr Maguire said this "lack of visibility" on the medium-term prospects for the Singapore economy on the part of consumers here - "a dynamic we do not expect to change anytime soon" - will hamper any significant rebound in domestic demand and suggests a continued sub-par performance for the economy going forward.

"With the Christmas lights on Orchard Road already lit, consumer sentiment does not appear to be glowing brightly as we head into the Christmas season," he said. "Retail sales and consumer activity could well prove to be a dampener on the season, given overarching concerns that supply-side restructuring is obviously engendering."

Here are 5 key findings from the survey:

1. In terms of personal finances now, 27% (up 1 percentage point) of respondents said their families are 'better off' financially than a year ago compared to 13 per cent (up 2ppts) who said they are 'worse off' financially.

2. 29% (unchanged) of respondents said they expect their families will be 'better off' financially in a year's time compared to 7% (down 3ppts) who expect their families will be 'worse off' financially.

3. Thinking of economic conditions in Singapore going forward, 48% (unchanged) expect Singapore will have 'good times' economically over the next 12 months compared to just 13% (unchanged) who expect 'bad times' economically.

4. Over the longer-term, 45% (unchanged) of respondents expect Singapore will have 'good times' financially during the next five years and 11% (unchanged) expect 'bad times' financially.

5. 18% (down 1ppt) of respondents said now is a 'good time to buy' major household items while another 18% (down 3ppts) said now is a 'bad time to buy' major household items.