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Asia/Pacific youth have optimistic outlook.

Youth in Asia/Pacific's emerging markets are largely optimistic about the future, according to the inaugural MasterCard Youth Confidence Index, a positive sign of the times ahead.

The MasterCard Youth Confidence Index, is a new initiative by MasterCard that measures the short-term outlook and confidence levels amongst youth (18-30 years) in the Asia/Pacific region.

Respondents were asked about their six- month outlook on five economic factors including employment prospects, the economy, regular income, and present versus anticipated quality of life in 5 years. The Index is calculated with zero as the most pessimistic, 100 as most optimistic and 50 as neutral, and respondents' thoughts on the six months ahead.

Of the 16 Asia/Pacific markets polled, Myanmar came out leagues ahead with an overall index score of 92.4. Youth in India (84.0) and Indonesia (82.5) were also frontrunners in optimism, followed by Philippines (78.5) and China (77.5). Youth in developed markets reflected lower levels of confidence with Taiwan (42.2) and Japan (48.6) trailing the region. (See chart below for full set of rankings)

Amongst emerging markets, Bangladesh was the exception scoring 55.2 on the overall Index, a possible reflection of the challenges faced by the country in 2013. In contrast, Myanmar's eventful year, one filled with much progress was reflected in the consistently positive attitudes of their young people towards the economy, employment and regular income prospects.

Across all markets, youth were most optimistic about their regular income prospects and least optimistic about their present life situation. In addition, when asked if their life situation in 5 years would be better than today, emerging markets were most optimistic with Myanmar's youth (92.9) once again leading the pack, followed by the Philippines (85.6), China (84.5) and Thailand (80.3).

"This new index by MasterCard is a good barometer for where today's youth stand in terms of confidence levels regarding a variety of economic factors. It is encouraging to see strong scores reflecting optimistic attitudes towards the coming six months, especially with regard to employment and regular income prospects which no doubt have a significant impact on the potential of the youth consumer market as well," noted Pierre Burret, Region Head, Asia/Pacific, MasterCard Advisors.

"With elections expected in numerous countries in the region this year, it will also be interesting to see if this optimism holds up and continues through to the end of 2014," he added.

Separately, in a MasterCard Survey of people above the age of 30, respondents were asked similar questions about their short-term confidence levels, with their views on the local stock market as an added category. While the overall confidence score for the MasterCard Youth Index across all Asia/Pacific markets was 67.8, the MasterCard Consumer Confidence Index for the older segment was lower at 61.5.


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Title Annotation:Business News
Publication:Manila Bulletin
Geographic Code:90ASI
Date:Feb 12, 2014
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