August 14, 2003
Asia Market Research dot com's August update to the Asian Consumer Growth Prospects Index is marked by the first tentative upturn for the long suffering Japanese consumer market, more confidence in the Chinese consumer market with the containment of SARS, and a quite substantive uptick for India (and to a lesser extent Pakistan), where decreased tensions with each other has reduced country risk significantly.
The panel was also upbeat about Thailand's prospects in a 12 month window.
The report was carried out post the events in Jakarta of last week, but just prior to the release of very positive economic figures for Japan this week.
While stock markets in Asia have shown healthy growth in recent months most panel members saw in this little substantive evidence of good consumer sentiment throughout Asia, but more a "following" of the upward trend in the dominant US market, which may or may not lead to economic and consumer growth upturns in Asia, but definitely will affect countries and industries differentially.
Overall however, August's index does suggest that the worst of SARS and the downturn in travel and tourism industries may be behind those worst affected. Concerns are still held for the still high cost centres of Hong Kong and Singapore, where unemployment and stagnation/reduction in salaries and wages continues to affect consumer spending.
The full analysis and graph illustrating trends over the last 3 months is available from the link above.
The Asian Wall Street Journal tomorrow will also report a spike in Chinese consumer spending reflected in an 9.8% increase in retail sales year on year for July, including sales of big-ticket items like automotives and white goods. Sustainable - or pent up demand from an insecure period? Maybe not at that level, but panel members still see the Chinese consumer market as providing the most stable consumer growth in Asia for the next 12 months at least.Published August 14, 2003 08:17 PM in Asia
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