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Global consumer confidence picks up, still cautious: survey

LONDON--Global consumer confidence edged higher in the third quarter, underpinned by an improvement in the United States, although uncertainty about the economy continued to cap spending, a survey showed.

Sixty-two percent of global consumers said they believed their national economies were in recession, up from 57 percent in the previous quarter, according to the survey by global information company Nielsen, released on Monday. Half of them expected recession to last for another year.

Sixty-nine percent of respondents said they were changing their spending habits to save more.

Confidence remained strongest in emerging markets, headed by India and Indonesia. Switzerland, however, also featured in the top 10 most bullish consumer markets after its score jumped from the previous quarter, highlighting a widening recovery gap between northern and southern Europe.

Thailand, Belgium, Australia and Norway also saw a noticeable increase in confidence while sentiment deteriorated sharply in Hong Kong, Israel, Argentina and South Korea.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index rose 1 point in the third quarter to 92, after dipping 3 points in the second quarter, and was 4 points higher than a year earlier.

The reading of below 100 nevertheless signals consumers are pessimistic about the outlook.

Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen, said further policy action was needed to boost global consumer confidence.

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