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Consumer Confidence Remains High in Kuwait: MasterCard Index

MasterCard has revealed the results of its latest Consumer Confidence IndexTM, which indicates that consumer sentiment in Kuwait remains high, with a score of 92.6.

Consumers in Kuwait are ‘optimistic’ about all five indicators measured in the Index despite a slight decrease in its score when compared to the previous edition of the Index released last year. When compared to the previous edition, consumers are more optimistic about Regular Income (97.7 vs. 96.6) while the indicators for Employment (97.6 vs. 98.1), Economy (96.3 vs. 97.5), Stock Market (83.9 vs. 95.1) and Quality of Life (87.6 vs. 96.7) witnessed a slight decline.

The latest findings also indicate that male respondents are more optimistic than female respondents about the coming months (94.0 vs. 90.4) and that consumers between the age of 30-44 years (93.8) are more optimistic than younger respondents (92.3).

“The stabilization of Kuwait’s political establishment coupled with a significant GDP growth are key factors that are driving high consumer confidence in Kuwait”, said Raghav Prasad, General Manager, Gulf Countries, MasterCard. “Kuwait is fast emerging as a lucrative investment destination for businesses from across the region and the renewed consumer confidence trends is also expected to drive investor confidence.”

Across the Middle East, the consumer confidence level remains very optimistic with positive scores for all five indicators, despite slight declines when compared to the previous edition of the Index released six months ago. Consumers are most optimistic about Regular Income (86.2 vs. 83.9) and Employment (83.6 vs. 80.9), whereas results indicate a decline in consumer’s confidence about Quality of Life (74.0 vs. 78.1) and the Stock Market (75.6 vs. 78.1) their sentiment in relation to the Economy has remained the same, at 80.3.The Middle East’s aggregate score of 78.5 remains higher than that of Asia/Pacific (63.3) and Africa (78.1), as was the case in the previous survey.

In the Middle East, Qatar (97.2) overtakes Saudi Arabia (96.3) as the market leader with the highest level of consumer confidence, followed by the Oman (94.6), Kuwait (92.6), UAE (88.7), Egypt (78.6) and Lebanon (12.4).

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence (“Index”) is based on a survey conducted between July 2014 and August 2014 on 12,205 respondents aged 18 – 64 in 27 countries within Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa. This is the 42nd survey of Consumer Confidence conducted since 1993.

The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard’s financial performance

Middle East Consumer Confidence Results:

MARKETS 1H 2014 2H 2013 1H 2013 2H 2012 1H 2012 2H 2011 1H 2011
Egypt 78.6 54.1 66.6 90.7 88.3 75.4 47.7
Kuwait 92.6 96.8 95.8 84.7 88.3 90.6 80.4
Lebanon 12.4 26.9 26.8 44.3 70.5 24.1 54.3
Oman 94.6 87.1 95.6 91.5 93.6 98.8 -
Qatar 97.2 96.4 96.5 96.6 93.6 99.7 83.6
Saudi Arabia 96.3 93.3 95.2 90.9 83.9 98.4 95.1
U.A.E. 88.7 94.7 91.4 86.0 82.1 92.9 73.6
Total Middle East
79.9 78.5 81.1 83.5 85.7 82.8 72.4
Source: MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence

Methodology:
Respondents were asked five questions pertaining to their six month outlook on the economy, employment prospects, the local stock market, their regular income prospects and their quality of life. The results of their responses were converted in five component indexes which were averaged to form the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence (MWICC) score. The MWICC Index score and the five component index scores range from 0 – 100 where 0 represents maximum pessimism, 100 represents maximum optimism and 50 represents neutrality.

About the MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence:

The MasterCard Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 20-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from over 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

The MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence is the most comprehensive and longest running survey of its kind in the region. In June 1997, the Index revealed a decline in consumer confidence – one month prior to the devaluation of the Thai baht that triggered the regional economic crisis. In June 2003, the Index score for Employment in Hong Kong dropped to a low score of 20.0. This was subsequently reflected in Hong Kong’s unemployment rate, which peaked just before September 2003 at eight percent.

The survey comprising the Asia/Pacific markets began in the first half of 1993 and has been conducted twice yearly since. Markets from the Middle East and Africa were included in the Index from 2004. Twenty seven markets now participate in the survey: Australia, Bangladesh, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nigeria, Oman, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from April to May 2013. A total of 12,205 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 27 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market.

The Index is calculated based with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral. Five economic factors are measured: Employment, the Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The responses are consumers' thoughts on the six months ahead. Data collection was via internet surveys and face to face interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The survey has a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four to five percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties

The MasterCard Index suite in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the long-running MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence, as well as the MasterCard Index of Women’s Advancement, MasterCard Survey on Online Shopping, MasterCard Index of Financial Literacy, and the MasterCard Index of Global Destination Cities. In addition to the Indices, MasterCard’s research properties also include a range of consumer surveys including Ethical Spending and a series on Consumer Purchasing Priorities (covering Travel, Dining & Entertainment, Education, Money Management, Luxury and General Shopping).

MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports providing analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 80 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, Global Economic Advisor for MasterCard and published by John Wiley & Sons.

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