Singapore consumers remain slightly pessimistic on worries over job prospects

Consumers in Singapore stayed on the side of pessimism in the final quarter of last year, citing concerns about their future job prospects. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG
Consumers in Singapore stayed on the side of pessimism in the final quarter of last year, citing concerns about their future job prospects. -- FILE PHOTO: BLOOMBERG

Consumers in Singapore stayed on the side of pessimism in the final quarter of last year, citing concerns about their future job prospects.

Singapore scored 97 on the Nielsen consumer confidence index for the last three months of 2013, a tad down from 98 in the previous survey, information company Nielsen said on Wednesday.

A reading below 100 indicates pessimism. Singapore has been scoring under 100 since the third quarter of 2011.

The marginal pull-back in consumer confidence in the fourth quarter last year was driven by a slight increase in the number of consumers who were worried about their future job prospects: 38 per cent, up from 34 per cent in the third quarter.

But Singaporeans' perceptions of their personal finances remained stable in the fourth quarter. Of the 505 respondents, 54 per cent said their personal finances over the following 12 months would likely be good or excellent.

And 36 per cent felt that the next 12 months would be a good time to buy the things they need or want, up 1 percentage point from the previous quarter.

"While Singaporeans are feeling less positive about their job prospects, the fact that they continue to be optimistic about their personal financial situations and that they are willing to spend on vacations indicates that consumers' confidence is still relatively positive," said Mr Luca Griseri, Nielsen's head of financial services in Singapore and Malaysia.

Singaporeans continued to be avid savers, with 64 per cent saying they would be channelling their excess funds into savings in the fourth quarter, the same proportion as in the third quarter.

But only 26 per cent said they planned to invest in stocks or mutual funds, down from 30 per cent in the third quarter.

The Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions, established in 2005, measures consumer confidence, major concerns, and spending intentions amongst more than 30,000 respondents with Internet access in 60 countries.

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