Stock market optimism 'grew in first half of 2015'

The survey revealed better sentiment regarding the local stock market and quality of life.
The survey revealed better sentiment regarding the local stock market and quality of life.ST FILE PHOTO

Consumers grew optimistic about the stock market and their overall quality of life in the first half of the year, according to a new survey.

It found that an index measuring consumer confidence had reached a four-year high of 65.3 points by the middle of the year.

Consumer confidence hovered around the low 50s from the second half of 2011 to 2013, and even slipped below the midpoint mark to 47.4 points in 2013, before steadily picking up in the past 18 months.

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as the measure is known, is also 4.4 points up on the results recorded late last year.

The survey revealed strong improvements in sentiment regarding the stock market and quality of life, with only a marginal decline for employment prospects. The index, which uses zero as the most pessimistic measure and 100 as the most optimistic, is based on a survey of about 400 Singapore-based respondents between May and June.

"The consistent growth in consumer confidence... for the past two years, despite uncertain conditions in the region, is a positive indicator of optimism of people for Singapore's future," said Ms Deborah Heng, group head and general manager of MasterCard Singapore.

"This is something to celebrate as we mark our country's 50 years of independence."

The rise of consumer confidence in Singapore to 65.3 points was still slightly below the Asia-Pacific average of 66.1 points.

While consumers in Asia-Pacific remain generally optimistic about the future, the level of optimism is starting to wane in several South-east Asian countries, with a drop of more than 10 points in Indonesia, Myanmar and Thailand.

This reflects an increasingly uncertain economic outlook, said MasterCard in a statement yesterday.

Singapore ranks fifth out of seven markets surveyed in South-east Asia, above Indonesia at 66.3 points and Malaysia at 44.9 points. Vietnam topped the list with 86.9 points, followed by Myanmar (81.6), Philippines (81.4) and Thailand (72.8).

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 18, 2015, with the headline 'Stock market optimism 'grew in first half of 2015''. Print Edition | Subscribe