By Susan Fenton
Global consumer confidence dipped in the second quarter from the previous three months, according to a survey published on Monday which also showed that Indonesians have overtaken Indians as the most upbeat consumers.
Consumer confidence fell across major emerging economies China, India and Brazil in the second quarter, according to the survey by global information company Nielsen.
A worsening euro zone crisis, sluggish U.S. jobs growth and slowing growth in China and India combined to dent consumer confidence globally in the second quarter with concern over the economic outlook and job security the biggest concerns.
Fifty-three percent of global respondents were optimistic about their personal finances, but that was down 2 percentage points from the first quarter. Asia-Pacific respondents reported the biggest decline in favorable financial perceptions, declining four points to 59 percent.
The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index dipped 3 points in the second quarter to 91. A reading below 100 signals consumers are pessimistic about the outlook.
There was however no increase in the number of consumers who said they were in recession, which stayed at 57 percent.
"Things are not necessarily getting worse for the average consumer, they just aren't getting better. That number, however, could change depending particularly on how the situation in Europe evolves," said Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen.
The survey was conducted between May 4 and 21 and covered more than 28,000 consumers polled on the Internet across 56 markets.
U.S. consumer confidence fell by 5 points to 87 in the second quarter, as reported last month, one of the biggest decreases globally.
INDONESIA RACES AHEAD
Indonesia's shift to top spot in the survey was a further sign that the country, with its big domestic economy and an expanding middle class, is weathering the global slowdown better than some other emerging markets.
"In Indonesia, consumer optimism has been evident all year fuelled by investment rating upgrades from Moody's and Fitch," said Catherine Eddy, managing director, Nielsen Indonesia.
"The market is very buoyant among consumers and investors right now and with a population of 240 million, Indonesia is possibly the next big bastion after China and India."
In Egypt, which elected a new president last month in its first free elections, consumer sentiment leapt 6 points, pushing Egyptians into the top 10 most optimistic consumers globally.
Hungarians, beset by a weakening economy and uncertainty about whether the government will secure an IMF aid deal, remained the most pessimistic consumers for a fourth straight quarter, their score dipping from the first quarter.
Confidence in Italy, which has been forced to announce new austerity measures to tackle its high debt, also dipped and was the third-lowest globally.
Euro zone peers France and Greece, which both held elections in the second quarter, saw big rises in consumer confidence but both still ranked in the bottom 10 globally, as did Spain and Portugal. Japan and South Korea have also seen persistently weak confidence in recent quarters and stayed in the bottom 10 rankings.
Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index in the second quarter, 2012 (Change from Q1, 2012 survey in brackets):
Top 10 index readings Bottom 10 index readings
Indonesia 120 (+2) Romania 62 (+2)
India 119 (-4) France 61 (+11)
Philippines 116 (-2) Japan 57 (-1)
Saudi Arabia 115 (-4) Spain 52 (-1)
Malaysia 111 (+4) S. Korea 50 (+1)
UAE 108 (+3) Croatia 45 (0)
Brazil 106 (-4) Greece 43 (+6)
China 105 (-5) Italy 41 (-4)
Hong Kong/Thailand 104 (+1,+3) Portugal 40 (+1)
Egypt 103 (+6) Hungary 30 (-2)
Global consumer confidence average 91 (-3)
United States 87 (-5)
Germany 88 (-2)
UK 75 (-2)
(Editing by Tim Pearce)
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