Wednesday, May 19th, 2010 - MasterCard Worldwide

MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence Reveals Younger Respondents Tend to Be More Optimistic than their Older Counterparts

Singapore, 18 May 2010 – Consumers across the Asia/Pacific region are approaching the next six months with a steady sense of optimism, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey, released today. Eight of the fourteen markets polled reflected positive consumer sentiment looking ahead, with the Asia/Pacific region witnessing an overall increase in its consumer confidence index score from six months ago (69.1 vs 66.3 six months ago).

Now in its 18th year, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the region’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. Released twice a year, the Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

The latest survey was conducted from 15 March to 12 April 2010 and involved 10,503 consumers from 24 markets . Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

Vietnam (93.7), Singapore (86.6) and China (83.0) continued to reflect higher consumer confidence compared to other markets in the region. Malaysia (71.7 vs 63.5), the Philippines (84.6 vs 69.9), Singapore (84.3 vs 67.5) and Taiwan (64.3 vs 47.2) showed increased confidence in their Regular Income outlook as compared to six months ago.

Across the region, the trend of respondents below the age of 30 being more optimistic than their older counterparts has continued, with the index scores of the former group averaging 73.0 points, as compared to 67.4 points for those over the age of 30. This was significant in New Zealand (77.2 for those below 30 vs 61.8 for those above 30), Hong Kong (83.3 vs 74.4), Singapore (92.0 vs 84.0) and the Philippines (64.4 vs 56.7). Respondents above the age of 30 in Korea, however, reflected higher optimism levels than their younger counterparts (56.0 for those above 30 vs 47.7 for those below 30).

Japan’s levels of pessimism decreased, as index scores increased from 24.4 six months ago to 27.8 for the six months ahead, with confidence in the stock market improving from an index score of 36.6 to 44.1. Optimism levels in the Philippines (59.3 vs 49.7 six months ago) rebounded significantly, pulled upwards by a positive outlook towards Regular Income (84.6 vs 69.9), the Economy (58.0 vs 46.4) and Employment (53.7 vs 43.4) for the six month period ahead. China, however, witnessed a slight decline (2.3) in index score from six months ago, with a drop in optimism in the stock market (67.9 for the six months ahead vs 74.2 six months ago).

Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide said, “The Asia/Pacific region rebounded in economic growth as early as the second half of last year, and regional recovery has continued to gain traction this year. While consumers in this region were amongst the first to cut back drastically on discretionary spending 18 months ago, they now seem confident and ready to significantly increase their discretionary expenditures and reduce their precautionary savings. This stability of consumer confidence and rising consumption in Asia/Pacific therefore bodes well for stronger business investment through the rest of the year, thereby contributing to the momentum of recovery.”

• More information on the Index can be found at the website www.masterintelligence.com
• Slides on the report can be found at slideshare.net/MasterCardNews

About the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 17-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region. In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.

The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty-four markets now participate in the survey: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The last MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from 15 March to 12 April 2010. A total of 10,503 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 24 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market. In each market except China and India, 400 or more people were surveyed. A minimum sample size of 800 was collected from China and India.

The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers' thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level, except China and India where because of the larger sample, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the flagship MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, and the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience, both of which are released six monthly, and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, which is released annually.

Besides these, MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports; the series represents in part its ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 70 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by its Asia/Pacific economist, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and published by John Wiley & Sons.

The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at www.masterintelligence.com

MASTERCARD WORLDWIDE INDEX OF CONSUMER CONFIDENCE 2H 2010 MARKET FINDINGS:

ASIA/PACIFIC MARKETS

AUSTRALIA (74.1)
Australians are optimistic in their outlook for the next six months. Their Index score is higher than that of six months ago (69.5) and much higher than a year ago (24.1).

Consumers are more optimistic than they were six months ago about the Stock Market (82.1 vs. 79.9 six months ago), Regular Income (77.3 vs. 68.0) and Employment (78.2 vs. 65.2). Outlook on the other indicators have declined from six months ago: Quality of Life (55.8 vs 56.2) and the Economy (76.9 vs 78.3).

CHINA (83.0)
Consumers in China are slightly less optimistic about the next six months than they were six months ago (85.3) but more optimistic than a year ago (60.8). However, this is significantly higher than the Asia/Pacific region average (69.1).

Consumers are more optimistic than they were six months ago about Regular Income (88.0 vs. 87.5). However, the outlook on the other indicators have declined from six months ago: Quality of Life (89.2 vs 92.4), the Stock Market (67.9 vs. 74.2), the Economy (90.3 vs 92.5).The outlook on Employment remained the same as six months ago, at 79.8.

HONG KONG (76.6)
Consumers in Hong Kong have become much more optimistic, registering a hike in consumer confidence scores from six months ago (60.0) and a year ago (24.7).

Consumer sentiment is optimistic for the Economy (83.8 vs 68.3 six months ago), Employment (83.3 vs 67.4), the Stock Market (79.2 vs 63.2), Regular Income (75.0 vs 53.2) and Quality of Life (61.7 vs 48.0).

INDIA (68.2)
Consumers in India are slightly less optimistic than six months ago (68.8) and slightly more optimistic than a year ago (68.0).

Consumers are more optimistic than they were six months ago about the Stock Market (70.2 vs. 70.0) and Regular Income (74.0 vs 70.5). However, the outlook on the other indicators has declined slightly from six months ago: Quality of Life (67.3 vs 69.8), the Economy (64.5 vs 66.7) and Employment (65.0 vs 66.9).

INDONESIA (61.4)
Indonesian consumers have become less optimistic about the next six months compared to six months ago (67.0) but are more optimistic than a year ago (49.2).

Consumers are more optimistic than they were six months ago about the Stock Market (68.4 vs. 64.4). However, the outlook on the other indicators has declined from six months ago: Quality of Life (59.7 vs. 61.7), Regular Income (73.5 vs. 74.3), Economy (56.6 vs 69.9) and Employment (49.0 vs. 64.4).

JAPAN (27.8)
Japanese consumers are less pessimistic than they were six months ago (27.8 vs. 24.4). However, their index score continued to be significantly lower than the Asia/Pacific region average (69.1).

Consumer sentiments towards the Stock Market (44.1 vs. 36.6), Regular Income (17.4 vs. 13.5), Economy (37.0 vs. 34.2) and Employment (29.7 vs 23.6) have improved from six months ago. Consumers are less optimistic about the Quality of Life (11.0 vs. 14.3).

KOREA (54.1)
Korean consumers have become less optimistic in their outlook compared to six months ago (59.8) but are much more optimistic than a year ago (28.8).

Consumer are less optimistic than they were six months ago about the Quality of Life (44.9 vs. 52.2), Stock Market (63.5 vs. 64.0), Regular Income (59.7 vs. 70.5), Economy (58.2 vs 63.5) and Employment (44.3 vs 48.6).

MALAYSIA (67.9)
Malaysians are more optimistic in their outlook for the next six months. Their Index score is slightly higher than that of six months ago (66.3) and much higher than a year ago (27.8).

Consumer sentiments towards the Stock Market (68.6 vs. 64.9) and Regular Income (71.7 vs. 63.5) have improved from six months ago. Consumers are less optimistic about the Quality of Life (64.7 vs. 66.0), Economy (69.6 vs. 70.0) and Employment (64.8 vs. 67.0).

NEW ZEALAND (65.9)
Consumer confidence in New Zealand has decreased, with consumers becoming less optimistic in their outlook compared to six months ago (69.7). However, they continue to remain much more optimistic than a year ago (21.5).

Consumer sentiments towards Regular Income (71.3 vs. 66.7) and Employment (74.1 vs. 72.6) have improved from six months ago. Consumers are less optimistic about the Quality of Life (48.0 vs 51.1), the Stock Market (65.9 vs 76.6) and the Economy (70.2 vs 81.4).

PHILIPPINES (59.3)
Consumer confidence in the Philippines has improved from six months ago (49.7) and a year ago (40.5).

Consumers have become more optimistic in their outlook towards Regular Income (84.6 vs. 69.9 six months ago), the Stock Market (50.0 vs. 47.3), the Economy (58.0 vs. 46.4), Employment (53.7 vs. 43.4) and Quality of Life (50.2 vs. 41.8).

SINGAPORE (86.6)
Singaporean consumers have become more optimistic compared to six months ago (79.4) and a year ago (31.2).

Consumers are optimistic with improvements in all five indicators compared to six months ago. They are more optimistic in their outlook towards the Economy (95.5 vs. 89.7), Employment (94.0 vs. 86.5), the Stock Market (83.2 vs. 80.6), Quality of Life (75.8 vs. 72.7) and Regular Income (84.3 vs. 67.5).

TAIWAN (65.7)
Taiwanese consumers have become less pessimistic compared to six months ago (56.5) and a year ago (39.4).

Consumer sentiments have become more optimistic in almost all indicators compared to six months ago: Economy (73.5 vs. 60.5), Employment (72.1 vs. 57.0), Regular Income (64.3 vs. 47.2) and Quality of Life (49.2 vs. 43.1). They are, however, more pessimistic about the Stock Market (69.6 vs. 74.7).

THAILAND (50.6)
Thai consumers have become more pessimistic compared to the last six months (55.3), but still more optimistic than a year ago (23.0).

Sentiments towards the Economy (52.3 vs. 61.9), Stock Market (51.8 vs. 59.8), Employment (49.5 vs. 56.1) and Quality of Life (36.7 vs. 47.6) have worsened from six months ago, except for Regular Income (62.7 vs. 51.2), which has become more positive.

VIETNAM (93.7)
The Index score for Vietnam is slightly higher than six months ago (90.0) and significantly so one year ago (60.9). They are the most optimistic across all markets in the Asia/Pacific region.

Consumers have become more optimistic across all five indicators compared to six months ago: Quality of Life (95.7 vs. 92.5), Economy (96.2 vs. 92.3), Regular Income (96.0 vs. 91.9), Employment (97.0 vs. 91.3) and the Stock Market (83.6 vs. 82.1).


MIDDLE EAST MARKETS

EGYPT (45.5)
Consumers in Egypt have become more pessimistic compared to the last six months (59.5) but are still more optimistic than a year ago (32.3).

Consumer confidence in Egypt has worsened across all economic indicators in terms of outlook towards Regular Income (65.3 vs. 78.1 six months ago), Economy (41.9 vs. 58.1), Quality of Life (39.0 vs. 56.4), the Stock Market (39.8 vs. 54.5) and Employment (41.5 vs. 50.6).

KUWAIT (96.9)
Consumers in Kuwait have become much more optimistic, with a significant increase in consumer confidence scores from six months ago (70.9) and a year ago (49.5).

Consumers have become much more optimistic compared with six months ago in the areas of Regular Income (98.9 vs. 82.0), the Stock Market (94.8 vs. 71.2), Employment (96.2 vs. 71.0), Economy (97.5 vs. 69.4) and Quality of Life (97.3 vs. 61.0).

LEBANON (44.6)
Lebanese consumers have become increasingly pessimistic compared to six months ago (55.4) and a year ago (64.4).

Consumers are more pessimistic in their outlook towards Quality of Life (43.6 vs. 57.5 six months ago), the Stock Market (45.4 vs. 56.5), Regular Income (49.8 vs. 54.7), Economy (42.6 vs. 54.5) and Employment (41.8 vs. 54.0).

QATAR (65.8)
Consumers in Qatar have become much less optimistic than six months ago (89.2) and a year ago (71.4).

Compared to six months ago, consumer confidence has improved slightly only towards Employment (85.5 vs. 85.2). On the other hand, consumers are much more pessimistic about the Quality of Life (57.5 vs. 91.8), the Stock Market (49.6 vs. 86.3), Regular Income (47.1 vs. 91.8) and the Economy (89.3 vs. 90.8),

SAUDI ARABIA (85.0)
Saudi Arabia’s Index score has increased from six months ago (83.2) and a year ago (67.1).

Consumer confidence in the areas of Regular Income (93.3 vs. 92.3), Economy (86.9 vs. 85.7), Employment (92.2 vs. 85.0) and the Stock Market (66.7 vs. 63.0) has improved from the last six months, except for a decrease in the Quality of Life categrory (86.0 vs. 90.1).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (82.4)
Consumers in the UAE have become more pessimistic compared to the last six months (86.1), but still much more optimistic than a year ago (29.6).

Consumer sentiments toward the Quality of Life (87.5 vs. 83.7) and Regular Income (86.8 vs. 81.9) have increased compared to six months ago but have decreased for the remaining three economic indicators: the Stock Market (72.6 vs. 89.6), Economy (83.0 vs. 89.4) and Employment (82.4 vs. 86.0).


AFRICA MARKETS


KENYA (73.5)
Consumers in Kenya have become much more optimistic, with a significant increase in consumer confidence scores from six months ago (47.9), when the survey was first conducted in Kenya.

Consumer confidence about Regular Income (88.5 vs. 61.7 six months ago), the Stock Market (73.9 vs. 51.4), the Economy (72.6 vs. 43.5), Employment (65.6 vs. 42.7) and Quality of Life (67.0 vs. 40.1) have all increased.

MOROCCO (78.2)
Consumers in Morocco have become optimistic in the next six months when compared to six months ago (66.1), when the survey was first conducted in Morocco.

Moroccan consumers are generally more optimistic across all five economic indicators, Regular Income (90.9 vs. 80.7), the Stock Market (71.9 vs. 64.0), Economy (78.3 vs. 63.1), Quality of Life (72.9 vs. 61.8) and Employment (77.2 vs. 60.8).

NIGERIA (83.2)
Nigerian consumers are more pessimistic when compared to the last six months (89.4) when they survey was first conducted in Nigeria.

Consumers in Nigeria have become less optimistic across all five economic indicators, Regular Income (95.6 vs. 96.6), Quality of Life (85.0 vs. 93.8), Economy (79.4 vs. 90.2), Employment (81.7 vs. 90.0) and the Stock Market (74.4 vs. 76.6).

SOUTH AFRICA (58.6)
Consumers in South Africa are less confident about the next six months than they were six months ago (59.8) and a year ago (67.3).

South African consumers are less optimistic than six months ago across three economic indicators: Quality of Life (55.8 vs. 56.9 six months ago), Employment (53.2 vs. 53.7) and the Stock Market (55.2 vs. 62.6). The remaining two economic indications, Regular Income (68.3 vs. 66.8) and the Economy (60.4 vs. 59.0), saw slight spikes in confidence.

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MasterCard Worldwide


MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 22 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com. Follow us on Twitter:@mastercardnews.
Dhania Nair
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MasterCard Worldwide


MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes over 22 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com. Follow us on Twitter:@mastercardnews.
Eugenia Koh
P: +65 6825 8029
W: www.masterintelligence.com

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