Singapore's consumer confidence hits 3-year high in Q3

Consumers remained pessimistic about their lot in the economy but felt a little bit cheerier in the third quarter, a survey noted yesterday.

In fact, confidence in the three months to Sept 30 rose to its highest level since it entered gloomy territory three years ago.

The Singapore Consumer Confidence Index was at 98 points for the quarter, up from 94 in the previous three months. Any score below 100 denotes pessimism.

The index has been in pessimistic territory - and below the global index level as well - since the fourth quarter of 2015, when it dipped from 101 points to 94.

Three indicators underpin the index: consumers' perception of the state of their personal finances, local job prospects and their spending intentions.

Singapore recorded improvements in all three, both on year-on-year and quarter-on-quarter bases.

"Backed by expansions in the service industry and increases for overall employment in (the third quarter), Singaporean consumers are warming up in their confidence levels," said Mr Johan Vrancken, managing director of Nielsen Singapore, which helps compile the index.

 

The survey found that 57 per cent of respondents believed the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months would be excellent or good, up from 53 per cent in the previous quarter and 52 per cent in the third quarter last year.

Job prospects over the next 12 months looked positive for 48 per cent, up from 44 per cent in the second quarter and 42 per cent last year. And 39 per cent said "now is the time to buy the things they want and need", up from 36 per cent the previous quarter and 31 per cent last year.

However, the intention to splash out on some specific discretionary items like clothes and travel dipped from the second to the third quarter. Job security was the top concern, cited by 18 per cent of respondents, with worries about the economy and work-life balance joint second on 14 per cent.

The global survey covered about 32,000 respondents in 64 countries, including 501 here.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on December 13, 2018, with the headline 'S'pore's consumer confidence hits 3-year high in Q3'. Print Edition | Subscribe