consumer confidence

Take a look at the latest data and India’s economy seems to be improving. Inflation is slowing, industrial production is better than expected and consumer confidence has improved for four consecutive months. But is it all a little too late for the incumbent Congress party? 

Out of 60 countries, Indonesia and the Philippines are home to the most optimistic consumers. Thailand comes fourth on the consumer confidence index compiled by Nielsen, a research company.

Yet ask these consumers how they will spend their cash, and they tell Nielsen they’d prefer to save it, actually. 

South Africa’s recent economic data hasn’t exactly been stellar – but this is a big worry. The quarterly consumer confidence index from the Bureau for Economic Research has come in for September at minus 8, the lowest score for a decade.

Not even in the financial crisis and recent recession did the index get that low. What’s going on? 

Times are tough for emerging markets. Currencies have taken a battering. And money has been flowing out of equity and bond markets alike. Policy makers are worried.

But consumers aren’t quite so glum. In the second quarter the Nielsen Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions showed a marginal quarterly improvement in all regions except Latin America. 

“A great spirit of change is coursing through all of Mexico,” President Enrique Peña Nieto said in his New Year’s message to the Mexican nation on Monday night. And the very next morning, the national statistics agency confirmed his view.

Within a few weeks of Peña Nieto’s inauguration, the agency reported on Tuesday that consumer confidence in December was at its highest in five years – 99 points, up from the 90.8 points of the same month of 2011. The 100-point base of the index, by the way, was set in 2003.