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Georgette Tan MasterCard Worldwide 65-6390-5971

Widespread Optimism Across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa: MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence

Positive Outlook on Next Six Months from 21 of 24 Markets Surveyed

Singapore, December 16, 2009 - Consumers across Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa markets are approaching the next six months with optimism, according to the latest MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey, released today. As the global economy recovers, 21 of the 24 markets polled reflected positive consumer sentiment looking ahead, including Vietnam (90.3), Nigeria (89.4), Qatar (89.2), United Arab Emirates (86.1) and China (85), which topped the list.

Developed markets in the region have seen a quick recovery in consumer confidence. United Arab Emirates1 leapt up in confidence with the largest Index score increase of the markets last surveyed six months ago (29.6 to 86.1). Sharp improvements were also evident for Singapore with a strongly optimistic Index score of 79.4, up from a pessimistic 31.2 in the previous survey, New Zealand (69.7, up from 21.5 six months ago), and Australia (69.5 from 24.1). Across the three markets, confidence in the Economy and Employment has improved dramatically.

Now in its 17th year, the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence is the region’s most comprehensive and longest running consumer confidence survey. Released twice a year, the Index is based on a survey which measures consumer confidence on prevailing expectations in the market for the next six months based on five economic indicators: Economy, Employment, Stock Market, Regular Income and Quality of Life. The Index score is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral.

The latest survey was conducted from 1 October to 9 November 2009 and involved 10,623 consumers from 24 markets2. Data collection was via internet surveys, personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone interviews, with the questionnaire translated to the local language wherever appropriate and necessary. The Index and its accompanying reports do not represent MasterCard financial performance.

The Asia/Pacific region saw an increase in its consumer confidence index score from six months ago (66.3 up from 38.7). Vietnam (90.0), China (85.3) and Singapore (79.4) reflected significantly higher consumer confidence compared to other markets in the region. Most markets showed increased confidence in their Employment outlook, particularly Vietnam and Singapore, which topped the region for confidence in this indicator.

Japan (24.4), which has been pessimistic in its outlook for 30 of the 34 surveys since the inception of the Index, continued this trend – more than one in three Japanese consumers expect the Economy to be worse in the next six months. The Philippines (49.7) hovered near the neutral mark, pulled upwards by a positive outlook towards Regular Income for the six month period ahead.

Nigeria’s consumer confidence (89.4) was strongest among the four African markets surveyed, and was second behind Vietnam of all the 24 markets surveyed. Morocco (66.1) also had a positive outlook for the next six months. South African consumer confidence while still optimistic has fallen from six months ago (59.8 down from 78.7). Kenya (47.9), on the other hand, joins Japan in being pessimistic about the six month period ahead. The outlook on Regular Income was the most positive indicator across the four African markets surveyed – even Kenyans were optimistic about Regular Income for the next six months.

Markets in the Middle East seemed to be tracking to 2008 levels of optimism with the current index score of 74.5. The consolidated Index score across the six Middle East markets surveyed was much higher than that of six months ago (49.9) and even a year ago (72.7). Sentiments were particularly strong in Qatar (89.2), UAE (86.1) and Saudi Arabia (83.2). Consumers in Lebanon were more pessimistic compared to six months ago (55.4 down from 64.4). Nearly one in four in Lebanon expects their income to decrease in the next six months.

Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong, economic advisor, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Worldwide said, “The global economy has started to stabilize in the second half of 2009; and conditions have improved especially fast in the Asia/Pacific region. The latest findings of the overall robust rebound in consumer confidence in the region mirrors progress seen in the real economy. In some of the markets where consumer sentiments had fallen precipitously in 2008 and early 2009; their rebound has been equally sharp. While a V-shaped economic recovery remains unlikely, the same cannot be said for consumer confidence as it appears to be a V-shaped rebound in confidence. This is to the extent that the renewed confidence leads to lower precautionary savings and higher spending, then business outlook will improve; thereby encouraging more investment. This will contribute to the momentum of recovery."

NOTE TO EDITORS: This news release is distributed with an accompanying chart that shows current MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence scores by market compared with several significant points in the history of the survey.
About the MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence
The MasterCard Worldwide Index™ of Consumer Confidence survey has a 17-year track record of consumer confidence indices collected from no less than 200,000 interviews, unequalled both in scope and history across Asia/Pacific.

The MasterCard Worldwide 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 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-four markets now participate in the survey: Australia, China, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Kuwait, Lebanon, Malaysia, Morocco, New Zealand, Nigeria, Philippines, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, South Africa, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Vietnam. The last MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence survey was conducted from 1 October to 9 November 2009. A total of 10,623 qualified respondents were surveyed in the 24 markets with the sample being representative of the middle and upper income groups in each market. In each market except China and India, 400 or more people were surveyed. A minimum sample size of 800 was collected from China and India.

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 personal, telephone and Computer Aided Telephone 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 percentage points at the 90 percent confidence level, except China and India where because of the larger sample, the margin of sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

MasterCard and its Suite of Research Properties
The MasterCard Worldwide Index suite of research products in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa includes the flagship MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Confidence, and the MasterCard Worldwide Index of Consumer Purchasing Resilience, both of which are released six monthly, and MasterCard Worldwide Index of Women’s Advancement, which is released annually.

Besides these, MasterCard also regularly releases Insights reports; the series represents in part its ongoing research and analysis of business dynamics, financial policies and regulatory activities in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. Over 70 Insights reports have been produced since 2004. MasterCard has also released a series of four books on Asian consumer insights, authored by its Asia/Pacific economist, Dr. Yuwa Hedrick-Wong and published by John Wiley & Sons.

The MasterCard Indexes and Insights reports are available at www.masterintelligence.com

Detailed tables are attached in the PDF above.

MASTERCARD WORLDWIDE INDEX OF CONSUMER CONFIDENCE 1H 2010 MARKET FINDINGS

ASIA/PACIFIC MARKETS

AUSTRALIA (69.5)
Australians are optimistic in their outlook for the next six months. Their Index score is much higher than that of six months ago (24.1) and a year ago (49.0).

Consumers are much more optimistic than they were six months ago about the Stock Market (79.9 vs. 41.0 six months ago), the Economy (78.3 vs. 18.3), Regular Income (68.0 vs. 37.1), Employment (65.2 vs. 9.6) and Quality of Life (56.2 vs. 14.3).

CHINA (85.3)
Consumers in China are more confident about the next six months than they were six months ago (60.8) and a year ago (76.6). This is significantly higher than the Asia/Pacific region average (66.3).

Overall optimistic sentiments amongst Chinese consumers towards the Economy (92.5 vs. 66.0), Quality of Life (92.4 vs. 75.6), Regular Income (87.5 vs. 56.3), Employment (79.8 vs. 53.1) and the Stock Market (53.3 vs. 62.7) have improved from six months ago.

Chinese first tier cities, Beijing (85.9 vs. 57.1), Shanghai (86.7 vs. 57.9) and Guangzhou (86.1 vs. 66.3) have experienced an increase in consumer confidence compared to six months ago. A new market, Wuhan (82.8), is added to the list of markets surveyed in China.

HONG KONG (60.0)
Consumers in Hong Kong have become optimistic, registering a hike in consumer confidence scores from six months ago (24.7) and a year ago (41.8).

Consumer sentiment is optimistic for the Economy (68.3 vs. 23.2 six months ago), Employment (67.4 vs. 16.2), the Stock Market (63.2 vs. 37.7), Regular Income (53.2 vs. 26.5) and Quality of Life (48.0 vs. 20.0).

INDIA (68.8)
Consumers in India continued to be optimistic. They are slightly more optimistic than six months ago (68.0) and a year ago (63.9).

Consumer sentiments have gone up on three economic indicators. Consumers are more optimistic about Employment (66.9 vs. 60.0 six months ago), the Stock Market (68.3 vs. 75.5) and Regular Income (70.5 vs. 70.0). Outlook on the other indicators has declined from six months ago: Economy (66.7 vs. 67.2) and Quality of Life (69.8 vs. 74.5).

Both Mumbai (79.1 vs. 61.7) and Chennai (95.2 vs. 61.3) consumers have become more optimistic than they were six months ago. New Delhi (49.4 vs. 79.3) has experienced a dip in consumer confidence score. A new market, Bangalore (47.2), is added to the list of markets surveyed in India.

INDONESIA (67.0)
Indonesian consumers have become significantly more optimistic about the next six months compared to six months ago (49.2) and a year ago (38.5).

They are more optimistic about the Economy (69.9 vs. 47.9), the Stock Market (64.4 vs. 35.3), Employment (64.4 vs. 40.4) and Quality of Life (61.7 vs. 44.9). Consumers also continue to be optimistic about Regular Income (74.3) as they have been for the last 10 years, even though they are less optimistic than they were six months ago (77.6).

JAPAN (24.4)
Japanese consumers are the most pessimistic from the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region for the next six months, even though they are less so compared to the last six months (21.5) and a year ago (17.2). This is significantly lower than the Asia/Pacific region average (66.3).

Consumer sentiments towards the Stock Market (36.6 vs. 27.3), the Economy (34.2 vs. 25.0) and Employment (23.6 vs. 19.6) have improved from six months ago. Consumers are however less bullish about personal indicators such as Quality of Life (14.3 vs. 13.5), even though it is improving, as well as Regular Income (13.5 vs. 21.9).

Osaka (20.3) is also more pessimistic than Tokyo (26.6) and lower than Japan’s Index score.

KOREA (59.8)
Korean consumers have become more optimistic in their outlook compared to six months ago (28.8) and a year ago (31.4).

Consumer sentiment on Regular Income (70.5 vs. 21.1), the Stock Market (64.0 vs. 56.9), the Economy (63.5 vs. 29.5), Quality of Life (52.2 vs. 13.8) and Employment (48.6 vs. 22.6) has improved tremendously from six months ago.

Both Seoul (59.5) and Pusan (60.8) consumers scored lower than Korea’s index score.

MALAYSIA (66.3)
Malaysia’s index score has improved tremendously from six months ago (27.8) and a year ago (35.9).

Consumer confidence across all five economic factors has improved from six months ago, with sentiments on the Economy (70.0 vs. 22.6), Employment (67.0 vs. 22.6), Quality of Life (66.0 vs. 36.1), the Stock Market (64.9 vs. 32.3) and Regular Income (63.5 vs. 25.5).

NEW ZEALAND (69.7)
After a year and a half of pessimistic scores, consumer confidence in New Zealand picks up to its highest peak, up from six months ago (21.5) and a year ago (33.7).

Consumer sentiments across the Economy (81.4 vs. 19.7), the Stock Market (76.6 vs. 25.0), Employment (72.6 vs. 6.8), Regular Income (66.7 vs. 40.0) and Quality of Life (51.1 vs. 15.9) have improved significantly.

Consumer confidence in Auckland (72.4) is higher than in Wellington (66.7).

PHILIPPINES (49.7)
Consumer confidence in the Philippines has improved slightly from six months ago (40.5) and a year ago (40.0). Generally, the sentiments are still pessimistic compared to the consumer confidence in the Asia/Pacific region (66.3).

Consumers have become more optimistic in outlook towards Regular Income (69.9 vs. 48.1 six months ago), the Stock Market (47.3 vs. 43.4), the Economy (46.4 vs. 37.3), Employment (43.4 vs. 36.2) and Quality of Life (41.8 vs. 37.5).

SINGAPORE (79.4)
Singaporean consumers have become significantly more optimistic (79.4) compared to six months ago (31.2) and a year ago (62.3).

Consumers have become very optimistic with vast improvements on all five indicators compared to six months ago. They are optimistic in outlook towards Economy (89.7 vs. 29.3), Employment (86.5 vs. 24.4), the Stock Market (80.6 vs. 25.0), Quality of Life (72.7 vs. 43.9) and Regular Income (67.5 vs. 33.3).

TAIWAN (56.5)
Taiwanese consumers have become less pessimistic compared to six months ago (39.4) and a year ago (32.1). The sentiments are still pessimistic compared to the consumer confidence in the Asia/Pacific region (66.3).

Consumer sentiments have become less pessimistic on three indicators compared to six months ago: the Stock Market (74.7 vs. 54.5), Economy (60.5 vs. 47.8), Employment (57.0 vs. 38.5), Regular Income (47.2 vs. 22.2) and Quality of Life (43.1 vs. 34.0).

THAILAND (55.3)
Thai consumers have become less pessimistic compared to the last six months (23.0) and a year ago (26.2).

Sentiments towards Economy (61.9 vs. 26.3), the Stock Market (59.8 vs. 18.0), Employment (56.1 vs. 23.8), Regular Income (51.2 vs. 22.5) and Quality of Life (47.6 vs. 24.3) have improved from six months ago.

VIETNAM (90.0)
Vietnamese consumers have recovered their confidence to pre-economic crunch levels. The Index score for Vietnam has emerged stronger than six months ago (60.9) and one year ago (88.1). They are the most optimistic across all markets in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa.

Consumers have become very optimistic across all five indicators compared to six months ago: Quality of Life (92.5 vs. 70.2), Economy (92.3 vs. 67.2), Regular Income (91.9 vs. 72.9), Employment (91.3 vs. 50.0) and the Stock Market (82.1 vs. 44.3).

Consumer confidence in Hanoi (94.6) is more optimistic than Ho Chi Minh (85.2).

MIDDLE EAST MARKETS EGYPT (59.5)
Consumers in Egypt have become less pessimistic compared to the last six months (32.3) and slightly less pessimistic than a year ago (55.6).

Consumer confidence in Egypt has improved across all economic indicators in terms of outlook towards Regular Income (78.1 vs. 59.5 six months ago), Economy (58.1 vs. 28.2), Quality of Life (56.4 vs. 26.7), the Stock Market (54.5 vs. 20.6) and Employment (50.6 vs. 26.6).

Cairo (62.5) has experienced an increase in its consumer confidence score from 33.3 six months ago. Sentiments have also improved from a year ago (47.3). Alexandria (50.2) is less pessimistic in consumer confidence from six months ago (30.8) but is still less optimistic than a year ago (72.8).

KUWAIT (70.9)
Consumers in Kuwait have become more optimistic, registering an increase in consumer confidence scores from six months ago (49.5) but have yet to recover to pre-economic crunch times a year ago (96.6).

Consumer sentiment has become more optimistic compared with six months ago in the areas of Regular Income (82.0 vs. 70.0), the Stock Market (71.2 vs. 25.4), Employment (71.0 vs. 59.1), Economy (69.4 vs. 45.2) and Quality of Life (61.0 vs. 47.8).

LEBANON (55.4)
Lebanese consumers have become more pessimistic compared to six months ago (64.4) and a year ago (69.1).

Consumers are more pessimistic in their outlook towards Quality of Life (57.5 vs. 59.3 six months ago), the Stock Market (56.5 vs. 69.6), Regular Income (54.7 vs. 72.1), Economy (54.5 vs. 58.6) and Employment (54 vs. 62.5).

QATAR (89.2)
Consumers in Qatar are some of the most optimistic in the Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region. The Qataris are more optimistic than six months ago (71.4) and a year ago (76.2).

Consumer confidence has improved compared to six months ago towards Regular Income (91.8 vs. 80.0), Quality of Life (91.8 vs. 68.4), Economy (90.8 vs. 82.5), the Stock Market (86.3 vs. 52.7) and Employment (85.2 vs. 73.3).

SAUDI ARABIA (83.2)
Saudi Arabia’s Index score (83.2) has increased dramatically from six months ago (67.1) and a year ago (72.4).

Consumer confidence in the areas of Regular Income (92.3 vs. 72.2), Quality of Life (90.1 vs. 76.2), Economy (85.7 vs. 72.9), Employment (85.0 vs. 73.5) and the Stock Market (63.0 vs. 40.9) has improved from the last six months.

Consumers in Riyadh (87.3) are more confident than Jeddah (73.9).

UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (86.1)
In comparison to other markets in Asia/Pacific, Middle East and Africa region, consumer confidence index score in the United Arab Emirates have improved the most compared to the last six months (29.6) and a year ago (75.4).

Consumer sentiments on all five economic indicators have increased compared to six months ago: the Stock Market (89.6 vs. 31.3), Economy (89.4 vs. 35.5), Employment (86.0 vs. 27.8), Quality of Life (83.7 vs. 36.7) and Regular Income (81.9 vs. 16.7).

Dubai’s (90.8) consumer confidence index score is higher than Abu Dhabi (70.8).

AFRICA MARKETS

KENYA (47.9)
Kenya is the other market along with Japan and the Philippines, which have demonstrated pessimism in their consumer confidence outlook in the next six months. This is the first time the Index surveyed Kenyan consumers.

Kenyan consumers are slightly optimistic about Regular Income (61.7) and the Stock Market (51.4). However, the Index score reflected pessimism in Economy (43.5), Employment (42.7) and Quality of Life (40.1).

MOROCCO (66.1)
Consumers in Morocco are relatively optimistic in the next six months. This is the first time the Index surveyed Moroccan consumers.

Moroccan consumers are generally optimistic across all five economic indicators, Regular Income (80.7), the Stock Market (64.0), Economy (63.3), Quality of Life (61.8) and Employment (60.8).

Consumers in Casablanca (71.0) are more optimistic than Rabat (61.5).

NIGERIA (89.4)
Nigeria posted overwhelming optimism in consumer confidence for the next six months. This is the first time the Index surveyed Nigerian consumers.

Consumers in Nigeria are very upbeat and optimistic across all five economic indicators, Regular Income (96.6), Quality of Life (93.8), Economy (90.2), Employment (90.0) and the Stock Market (76.6).

SOUTH AFRICA (59.8)
Consumers in South Africa are less confident about the next six months than they were six months ago (67.3) and a year ago (78.7).

While South African consumers remain optimistic, they are less optimistic than six months ago across four economic indicators: Regular Income (66.8 vs. 83.3 six months ago), the Economy (59.0 vs. 64.5), Quality of Life (56.9 vs. 67.9) and Employment (53.7 vs. 67.1). The only exception was the Stock Market (62.6 vs. 53.7), which saw an increase in Index score.

Johannesburg (70.6) has recorded a slight increase in its consumer confidence score compared to six months ago (66.5), but is still not as optimistic as a year ago (83.3). Cape Town (57.1) has seen a dip in its consumer confidence score compared to six months ago (66.7). Its Index score is similar to what it was a year ago (57.3). Durban (50.4) has recorded a decrease in its consumer confidence score compared to six months ago (68.0) and a year ago (89.6).

1The survey was conducted from 1 October to 9 November in the Middle East, before the crash of Dubai World. These sentiments do not therefore take into account the impact of Dubai World and sentiments today could be quite different.
2Asia/Pacific: Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam
Middle East: Egypt, Kuwait, Lebanon, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates Africa: Kenya, Morocco, Nigeria, South Africa
3The survey was conducted from 1 October to 9 November in the Middle East, before the crash of Dubai World. These sentiments do not therefore take into account the impact of Dubai World and sentiments today could be quite different.


About MasterCard Worldwide
MasterCard Worldwide advances global commerce by providing a critical economic link among financial institutions, businesses, cardholders and merchants worldwide. As a franchisor, processor and advisor, MasterCard develops and markets payment solutions, processes approximately 21 billion transactions each year, and provides industry-leading analysis and consulting services to financial-institution customers and merchants. Powered by the MasterCard Worldwide Network and through its family of brands, including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus®, MasterCard serves consumers and businesses in more than 210 countries and territories. For more information go to www.mastercard.com.