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Friday, 22 August 2008

S'poreans bracing for recession

by Rachel Chan

CLOSE to half of the Singapore respondents who participated in a recent survey said they are bracing themselves for a global recession in the next 12 months.

According to the Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index, 47 per cent - the highest among Asia-Pacific countries - of the 500 Singaporean respondents are steadying themselves for an economic downturn.

This is the first time, since the survey's inception in 2005, that Singapore's consumer confidence has dropped, said The Nielsen Company.

The survey is done biannually to measure confidence levels, spending habits and major concerns of consumers.

Singapore is sixth on the Consumer Confidence Index chart for the Asia-Pacific region, which includes countries like Malaysia, New Zealand and China.

Even Nordic nations like Denmark, Norway and Finland - countries that have consistently topped the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index - share Singapore's pessimism.

Results from the quantitative online survey, conducted in April this year, show that Singaporeans have a consumer confidence index of 102, down from 114 in the second half of last year.

'Since the inception of Nielsen's half-yearly Consumer Confidence Index in 2005, Singaporeans' confidence levels have been on a steady rise, until the latest survey,' said Ms Vicky Santos, executive director for The Nielsen Company, Singapore.

Singapore respondents claimed their biggest fear was unemployment, followed by inflation.

However, Singapore respondents are saving more.

About 69 per cent of those who have spare cash save it for a rainy day, up from 65 per cent in May last year. The latest global average is 46 per cent.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index noted extreme pessimism in New Zealand, Latvia and the United States.

These findings are based on more than 28,000 Internet users in 51 markets, spanning Europe, Asia Pacific, North America and the Middle East.

Norway, India, Indonesia and Denmark topped global rankings as the most optimistic nations, while Taiwan was the only market that posted a buoyant 14-point increase in confidence levels, at 83 points.

On the other hand, Portugal, Korea and Japan wallow at the bottom of the Confidence Index rankings as the most pessimistic nations in the survey.

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