Positive on personal finances, job prospects

PETALING JAYA: Malaysia is the 10th most confident country in the world in the second quarter (Q2) of 2019, with a majority of Malaysians have a positive outlook on their personal finances and job prospects, according to The Conference Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey.

Malaysia registered 110 points in the Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) in Q2 2019, a slight dip compared with the 115 points in Q1 2019 and 117 points in the same quarter last year.

The CCI is driven by three indicators, which are consumers’ perception on local job prospects, personal finances and intentions/readiness to spend. It was done in collaboration with Nielsen.

The survey indicates that Malaysians’ readiness to spend has not changed on a quarterly and annual basis, but perception on job prospects and personal finances has declined.

Some 63% of Malaysians believe the state of their personal finances in the next 12 months will be excellent or good (vs. 71% in Q1 2019, 69% in Q2 2018).

Of the respondents, 63% also have a positive view on job prospects in the next 12 months (vs. 70% in Q1 2019 and 73% in Q2 2018), while 48% said “now is the time to buy the things they want and need” (in line with 48% in Q1 2019 and 50% in Q2 2018).

“This is the sixth consecutive quarter of consumer optimism that Malaysia has enjoyed, after experiencing 17 consecutive quarters of pessimism since Q4 2013,” said Nielsen Malaysia managing director Luca De Nard.

“While the consumer confidence index score has declined both on a quarterly and an annual basis, a score of 110 should still be viewed positively, as a majority of consumers continue to be positive on bread and butter issues such as their personal finances and job prospects.”

The survey also highlighted that recessionary sentiment in Malaysia remains high, with 70% of consumers believing that the country is currently in a recession.

Kitchen table and lifestyle issues continue to be a priority among Malaysians and the top five concerns are the economy (38%), job security (20%), work-life balance (18%), health (17%) and debt (16%).

“The economy and job security have always been at the forefront of Malaysians’ minds. However, over the past three years, we have observed a steady decrease in concerns surrounding increasing food, fuel and utility prices – which correlates to the low inflation we have experienced recently,” said De Nard.