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Singapore consumer confidence down amid personal finance worries: ANZ survey

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Consumer confidence in Singapore fell in February, mainly due to Singaporeans' reduced confidence about their personal finances over the next 12 months.

CONSUMER confidence in Singapore fell in February, mainly due to Singaporeans' reduced confidence about their personal finances over the next 12 months.

This is according to a consumer confidence index by ANZ-Roy Morgan which fell 2.1 percentage points (ppts) month on month to 120.7 in February.

The index sampled 1,000 randomly selected Singaporeans via face-to-face interviews, and also ensured that the income and gender proportions were similar to those of the national census.

ANZ chief economist of South Asia, Asean & Pacific Glenn Maguire said: "Singaporeans seem unlikely to flock to the shops anytime soon. The fall in consumer confidence over the month of February was fairly broad based, though the outsized fall in the assessment of personal finances over the next 12 months stands out, and continues to point to reticence as the most likely consumer behaviour going forward."

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According to its findings, 27 per cent (down 2 ppts) of respondents said their families are better off financially than a year ago, compared to 11 per cent (up 1 ppt) who said they are worse off.

In addition, 29 per cent (down 5 ppts) of respondents said they expect their families to be better off financially in a year's time, compared to 8 per cent (up 1 ppt) who expect their families to be worse off.

Mr Maguire said these answers are "sombre", showing that less than a third of households surveyed believe that their personal financial situation is better now or that it will improve this year.

Polled on economic conditions in Singapore over the next 12 months, 44 per cent of respondents (down 1 ppt) expect Singapore to do well; 12 per cent (down 3 ppt) expect the contrary.

Over the longer term, 45 per cent (up 1 ppt) of respondents expect Singapore to perform well financially during the next five years; 11 per cent (up 1 ppt) expect the opposite.

Both invariably show that less than half of Singaporeans believe that they will see "good times" economically over the next 12 months or five years.

Not surprisingly, the assessment of whether now is a good time to buy a major household item has fallen.

One in five (down 3 ppts) of respondents said now is a good time to buy, while 19 per cent (unchanged) disagreed.

"This continues to suggest to us that the overhang of supply-side restructuring is anchoring consumer confidence in a sombre state and it is difficult to turn optimistic on the outlook for consumer spending in Singapore till a larger number of households express confidence on either their own or Singapore's outlook," Mr Maguire said.

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