Consumer confidence in Singapore lowest since June 2009: MasterCard survey

Consumer confidence in Singapore has hit a new low.
Consumer confidence in Singapore has hit a new low.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Singapore consumers have changed their outlook for the near future from neutral to pessimistic, with their confidence hitting a new low, according to survey findings released on Wednesday (Aug 17).

Based on the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, where zero indicates the most pessimism and 100 the most optimism, Singapore scored 33.6 points for the first half of 2016. This is down from 44.3 points from the second half of 2015.

The score, linked to stagnating global demand and a poor outlook of the current labour market, is the lowest since June 2009. It dipped below the 60-point optimism mark into neutral territory for the the last survey amid worsening hopes for the stock market, economy and employment.

The survey was conducted in 17 Asia-Pacific markets between June and July this year, with 8,746 respondents aged 18 to 64 asked for their six-month outlook on five economic factors: the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market and quality of life.

Singaporeans were less optimistic in all five factors, with three components dropping by more than 10 points: quality of life (-14.5), regular income prospects (-12.0) and employment prospects (-11.0).

According to the survey, overall consumer confidence across the Asia-Pacific region remained relatively stable despite global economic uncertainty, with nine of the 17 markets surveyed recording greater optimism.

Declines were recorded in seven markets, with the biggest drops posted in Singapore (-10.7), Hong Kong (-12.4) and Indonesia (-14.7).

Said Ms Deborah Heng, country manager for MasterCard Singapore: "Despite the fact that, overall, consumer confidence has remained relatively unchanged in the region over the last six months, this masks significant fluctuations in confidence amongst several individual countries, including severe deterioration amongst Singapore consumers.

"We believe that this reflects the anticipated weak economic growth in Singapore for 2016, overall pessimism in the business sector, as well as the loss of confidence in the job market."