World Economy

Singaporeans Optimistic About Economic Progress

Consumer confidence in Singapore has picked up.Consumer confidence in Singapore has picked up.

Singapore residents were significantly more optimistic about the economy in the first half of this year, after consumer confidence hit a seven-year low last year, going by survey findings released Friday.

According to the Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence, where zero indicates the most pessimism and 100 the most optimism, Singapore scored 45.4 points for the first half of this year, CNA reported.

The 15.4-point uptick from the second half of last year has pushed Singapore from pessimistic territory to neutral, the report said. It is an improvement on the previous score—the lowest since June 2009—which was linked to stagnating global demand and a poor outlook on the labor market.

The score for the second half of last year was also the third decline in a row, after a four-year high of 65.3 points in the first half of 2015.

The latest survey was conducted between April and June this year, with 9,153 respondents in 18 Asia-Pacific markets polled on their six-month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, regular income prospects, the stock market and quality of life.

The Mastercard Index of Consumer Confidence score for the first half of the year is a 15.4-point uptick from the second half of last year, as Singapore residents showed more confidence in the economy.

Compared to the second half of last year, Singaporeans were more optimistic on all five factors, with confidence improving most in the stock market, followed by the economy then employment prospects.

Deborah Heng, country manager for Mastercard Singapore, said the improvement in Singapore—the largest across South-east Asia—is an encouraging sign that “consumer confidence in Singapore has picked up, having seen a steady decline over the last two years”.

DBS senior economist Irvin Seah said Mastercard’s latest findings can be attributed to a more positive global outlook and Singapore’s own “fairly good” economic growth.

Last week, the ministry of trade and Industry narrowed its forecast range for economic growth this year to 2% to 3%, from an earlier estimate of 1% to 3%.

The economy had also expanded 2.9% in the April to June quarter compared with the same period a year earlier. “This has led a positive wealth effect,” Seah said.

He added that the services sector, which accounts for two-thirds of employment, has seen improvement. This in turn has had a knock-on effect on consumer confidence.

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