SOURCE: InsightAsia Research Group PTE LTD

InsightAsia Research Group PTE LTD

January 21, 2010 07:33 ET

Consumer Confidence Mixed Across South East Asian Countries

SINGAPORE--(Marketwire - January 21, 2010) - Consumer confidence in South East Asia differs per country. The Asian Consumer Confidence Index by InsightAsia registers a split into two groups. Consumers in Singapore, China and Malaysia are optimistic about economic circumstances. In Thailand and Indonesia however, consumers are sceptical and feel that positive growth forecasts will not be met.

InsightAsia, one of Asia Pacific's leading market research groups -- specialising in quantitative, qualitative research, brand development, business analytics and consultancy -- surveys 9,200 people across five Asian countries on an annual basis to produce The Asian Consumer Confidence Index. Reports can be downloaded at

South East Asian economies weathered the global recession well in 2009. As Western economies have struggled to demonstrate consistent improvement, most Asian economies have maintained or resumed positive growth figures. Growth forecasts for 2010 in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand are all positive.

Consumers are confident in China, Singapore and Malaysia. Singapore continued its strong upward trend in consumer confidence in Quarter 4 and has experienced a remarkable turnaround since the beginning of 2009. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 62 in Quarter 1 to 124 in Quarter 4.

Consumer confidence in China remained strong throughout the recession. Although the financial crisis temporarily slowed China's impressive growth, weighty government support helped to restore its previous growth rate. Consumers in China were confident all along and ended the year with a Consumer Confidence Index of 122, almost equal to Singapore.

Malaysians were somewhat pessimistic in the first part of 2009 but gradually evolved to a moderately optimistic state of mind in December. The Consumer Confidence Index increased from 84 in Quarter 1 to 112 in Quarter 4.

Consumers in Indonesia and Thailand are negative about economic circumstances, despite the positive GDP growth forecasts for 2010. Indonesian consumer confidence exhibited an upward trend for a large part of 2009. The Consumer Confidence Index of Indonesia increased from 83 in Quarter 1 to 105 in Quarter 3, after presidential elections proceeded peacefully and economic forecasts improved. However, Indonesian confidence lapsed to 89 in Quarter 4 and is almost back to the level of Quarter 1, when the impact of the global recession was at its peak.

Thailand struggled with political instability, decreased exports and a suffering tourism industry in 2009. While other countries in the region bounced back from the recession last year and are confident of growth in 2010, the possibility of recovery in the Thai economy is less convincing and the future very uncertain. The Consumer Confidence Index of Thailand started the year at 72 and ended at 87, a modest improvement that leaves the attitude below the neutral level.

Asian economies are on the rise. Despite unfavourable global circumstances they have grown based on domestic demand, fuelled in large part by government support programmes. Long-term growth will rely heavily on the development of private demand and requires structure reforms of the developing economies. Though the economic future of Asia is promising, the results of The Asian Consumer Confidence Index show that in some countries consumers are sceptical about the projected economic growth. Ongoing growth and strong political leadership will be important to convince them.

The Asian Consumer Confidence Index is managed by Maarten Kallenberg. He can be contacted for more information at

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