Image credit: MasterCard Index

Image credit: MasterCard Index

Consumer confidence in Northeast Asian markets like Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong fell sharply in the second half of 2014 versus the first half, according to a survey by the MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence released last week.

Meanwhile, emerging markets like Myanmar, India and Indonesia topped the rankings, with the Philippines and Bangladesh recording the greatest improvement. Vietnam and Thailand remain ‘very optimistic’.

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The findings come after the region recorded the highest consumer confidence score in more than 10 years for the first half of 2014, the report said.

“Emerging markets Myanmar, India and Indonesia are the most optimistic because of either positive anticipation for a brighter future or excitement around their respective newly-minted governments,” Pierre Burret, MasterCard Advisors said in a statement.

“Conversely, the developed markets of Northeast Asia, namely Taiwan, Japan and Hong Kong were much less optimistic in their outlook. In these markets, the wanted signs of long-term growth and opportunity are blocked by Hong Kong’s recent political crisis and Japan’s weakening Yen,” he added.

While there were declines across all four key economic indicators, Asia Pacific markets remained optimistic overall. Ten of 16 Asia Pacific markets surveyed, including China and South Korea, remained stable.

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Singapore is still ranked as optimistic, but Malaysia ‘saw a deterioration… sliding below the 50 point neutral mark for the first time since the financial crisis low in H1 2009’.

The Index is based on a survey conducted between October and November 2014, with 8,235 respondents aged 18-64 taking part across 16 countries in Asia Pacific. Questions were based on a six-month outlook of five economic factors: the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, and quality of life.

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