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[SINGAPORE] Asia-Pacific consumers are less confident about the prospects for the region and their livelihoods in the first half of 2015 than they were about the previous six months, when confidence was at its highest in more than a decade.
Consumers were the least optimistic in Japan, Taiwan and Hong Kong, according to the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence published on Thursday.
More than 8,000 consumers across 16 countries were asked about their outlook for the economy, employment, income, the stock market and quality of life. For all the categories, confidence was lower than in the previous six months, mirroring the World Bank's view that the global economy is at a"disconcerting juncture".
In Japan, confidence fell to a two-year low, in sync with the World Bank's cut in its forecast for the country's growth. The drop was largely due to worries about the fallout from Abenomics and the weakening yen, said Pierre Burret, head of delivery, quality and resource management for MasterCard Advisors for Europe, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa.
Confidence in Taiwan and Hong Kong was weaker mainly because of the higher risk of more tensions with China, Burret said, while in China itself, confidence was stable from the previous six months even as economic growth is expected to slow. The World Bank cut its outlook for China in its twice-yearly Global Economic Prospects report published this week.