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Singapore consumer confidence gets an SG50 boost

Wednesday, August 26, 2015 - 10:10
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The ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence index rose to 130.5 in August - the highest in more than a year.

THE ANZ-Roy Morgan Singapore Consumer Confidence index rose to 130.5 in August - the highest in more than a year - primarily driven by an increase in the number of local respondents who felt that now is a "good time to buy" major household items, keeping the index elevated above its long-term average of 123.1 points.

Compared to the previous month, the index rose 4.1 points. Year on year, the index is 11.5 points higher than August 2014's 119.

In terms of personal finances, 31 per cent of respondents said their families are "better off" financially than a year ago. Nine per cent said they are "worse off" financially.

Of those surveyed, 37 per cent said they expect their families to be better off financially in a year's time. This is the highest value recorded for the indicator since July 2014. On the other hand, 6 per cent of respondents expect to be worse off financially in a year's time.

On their views of Singapore's economic conditions going forward, half of the respondents expect Singapore to have "good times" financially over the next 12 months, while 10 per cent of respondents expect "bad times" financially.

Over the longer term, 52 per cent of participants expect Singapore to have "good times" financially during the next five years while 7 per cent expect bad times.

More respondents (26 per cent) said now is a good time to buy major household items, marking the highest level for the indicator since July 2014.

A historically low 12 per cent of respondents felt now is a "bad time to buy" major household items.

Glenn Maguire, ANZ's chief economist for South Asia, Asean and the Pacific, said: "As Singaporeans reflected on 50 remarkable years and all that was achieved - and received a rather generous Jubilee weekend holiday (7-10 August) - it is not surprising that headline consumer confidence rose strongly over the month."

What is perhaps surprising, he said, is that the breakdown of consumer confidence did not fit with a pattern associated with patriotism. "Typically, rising national pride and a sense of achievement will manifest themselves in improved assessments of the one-year and five-year ahead outlook questions. However, this wasn't the case in August as responses to both questions were broadly unchanged."

Looking ahead, Mr Maguire said sentiments may be more mixed in the coming months.

He expects some normalisation in the upswing in consumer confidence, especially as households could be spooked by the global equity rout and the sharp moderation of China's economic growth.

Persistent softness in property prices is also likely to have a knock-on "wealth effect", he added.