May 18, 2010 / 7:03 AM / 9 years ago

Flush Asians splash out on luxuries

A giant banner promotes Sony's Vaio laptops at Sim Lim Square, in Singapore March 3, 2009. REUTERS/David Loh

SINGAPORE (Reuters Life!) - Things are looking up in the Asia Pacific, a new survey shows, with most consumers saying they’re confident about their jobs and the economy in the next six months, which is encouraging them to spend on luxury items.

The MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence for the region was higher in eight of the 14 markets surveyed as robust economic growth ignited a sense of optimism.

“The Asia/Pacific region rebounded in economic growth as early as the second half of last year, and regional recovery has continued to gain traction this year,” said Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, MasterCard Worldwide’s economic adviser for the Asia/Pacific.

“While consumers in this region were amongst the first to cut back drastically on discretionary spending 18 months ago, they now seem confident and ready to significantly increase their discretionary expenditures ... thereby contributing to the momentum of recovery,” he said in a statement.

The survey, which in the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific involved more than 10,500 people, gave the Asia Pacific an index score of 69.1 compared to 66.3 six months ago.

Leading the uptrend were China, Vietnam and Singapore, which showed the highest levels of consumer confidence in the region.

Singapore, Taiwan and the Philippines were the most confident their incomes would increase within the next six months and even pessimism levels in Japan, which is struggling to shake off an economic recession, were declining.

The survey, which was conducted from March to April this year, also found that younger respondents, aged below 30, were more optimistic than their older counterparts.

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Writing by Miral Fahmy, editing by Jeremy Laurence

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