SOURCE: InsightAsia Research Group PTE LTD

InsightAsia Research Group PTE LTD

April 19, 2010 05:49 ET

Consumers More Upbeat Across Southeast Asian Countries

SINGAPORE--(Marketwire - April 19, 2010) - Consumer confidence continued to grow in China and Southeast Asia in the first quarter of 2010. All countries in the region have overcome the economic downturn. Their projected growth for 2010 is positive and exceeds that of 2009. As economic prospects have improved, so has consumer confidence.

InsightAsia, one of Asia Pacific's leading market research groups -- specialising in quantitative, qualitative research, brand development, business analytics and consultancy -- surveys 10,800 people across six Asian countries on an annual basis to produce The Asian Consumer Confidence Index. Reports can be downloaded at www.insightasia.com.

The Consumer Confidence Index measures consumers' perception of economic conditions and personal financial well-being, an Index of 100 reflecting a neutral level. Consumers are very upbeat in Singapore (138), Vietnam (132), China (125) and Malaysia (125). They feel the economy has improved since the start of 2009, expect further improvements in the coming year and are also optimistic about the outlook of their financial well-being.

Confidence in Indonesia (94) and Thailand (93), however, remains below the neutral point, in large part due to negative views of the current economy.

The increase of consumer confidence is most remarkable in Singapore. In the first quarter of 2009 Singapore had the lowest Consumer Confidence Index, trailing the nearest country in the rankings by 10 points. A year later, the island state leads the rankings after its Index jumped from 62 to 138 in just 12 months. As an advanced economy that is built on strong foundations, Singapore seems set for sustainable growth -- an outlook reflected in the attitude of Singaporean consumers.

Growth projections for the many developing economies in the region are also very positive, though they will be challenged to implement reforms to sustain growth in the long term. Developing economies have long based their growth on exports and relied on government stimuli to counter the global recession. The impact of government stimulus packages will fade, and as there is a limit to the growth potential of exports associated economic benefits will level out. This creates the need to develop domestic consumption, which will in large part depend on the strength of political leadership to implement new policies and introduces an element of uncertainty into the growth forecasts of developing economies.

In Quarter 1 of 2010 consumer confidence in China and Southeast Asia rose in accordance with GDP growth increases. Increased consumer confidence will support consumer spending, which is important given the need for development of domestic markets in the region. In the future, political stability and leadership will become an important factor in building consumer confidence and sustaining growth.

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

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