A Dubai mall. Image: Naiyyer / Shutterstock.com
UAE, Saudi among most bullish markets
Hong Kong, January 29, 2014
Consumers in the UAE and Saudi Arabia were among the world's most bullish in the final quarter of 2013 while Americans were slightly less willing to spend than in the previous quarter, a global survey showed.
Indonesians remained the most upbeat, according to a quarterly survey by global information and insights company Nielsen.
In the euro zone, confidence rose sharply in Ireland, which successfully completed its EU/IMF bailout programme late last year, and improved in Germany and Spain.
But sentiment plunged in France and Portugal and slipped in Greece and Italy, according to the survey.
Countries in Asia, including India, China, the Philippines, Thailand and Hong Kong, continued to dominate the list of most upbeat consumer markets although Brazil, Denmark and Canada also featured in the top 10 markets, the survey showed.
The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index stayed at 94 in the fourth quarter for a third straight quarter, but was up 3 points from the same period a year earlier. A reading below 100, however, signals still relatively low consumer morale.
Consumer sentiment in the US slipped four points from a six-year high in the third quarter although it was five points higher than in the fourth quarter of 2012.
"The lack of additional recent improvement in US consumer sentiment is, in some measure, surprising given the improvements in employment, stock market values and housing that occurred over 2013," said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen.
"It is likely that this is a reflection of the uneven manner in which such gains have been made, and also that levels of underemployment and long-term unemployment remain high, with many workers remaining discouraged and not participating in the workforce."
In Japan, stock market gains did seem to have an impact, Nielsen said, helping consumer confidence jump by 6 points from the third quarter to its highest level since 2005. Nielsen was cautious about the outlook for Japanese consumer confidence in the second half of this year however, given a planned increase in sales tax in April.
Nielsen was confident that despite a slip back at the end of last year confidence in the US, the world's biggest consumer market, would pick up again in 2014 as economic growth gains momentum, supporting the global economy. - Reuters