Global consumer confidence up, except in Asia
The latest survey of consumer confidence around the world revealed that while confidence was returning to developed markets such as the U.S. and Europe, confidence had been shaken in emerging market economies in the Asia-Pacific region.
The quarterly survey, carried out by global information company Nielsen, measured local job prospects, personal finances and immediate spending intentions and showed that consumer confidence was improving in developed markets. It was "holding steady" in most emerging markets.
The global consumer confidence index reached 94 in the third quarter, a two-point increase from the same quarter last year but unchanged from the previous quarter. In Europe, the index increased three points to 74, the biggest quarter-on-quarter increase since the first quarter of 2010. In the U.S., meanwhile, consumer confidence hit its highest level since the third quarter of 2007.
The survey was conducted online among more than 30,000 respondents in 60 countries. It found that, globally, plans to buy new clothes, spend on vacations, out-of-home entertainment and home improvements increased 5 percentage points each in the third quarter.
Nielsen conceded that the results only provided a perspective on the habits of existing internet users, not total populations, and that internet penetration rates differ by country which could affect the results.
The jump in confidence was greatest in Portugal, although confidence remains low compared to other European nations. The fall in confidence was the most pronounced in Ukraine.
In the U.K. , the number of consumers believing that the country is out of recession was at its highest point in five and a half years.
The only main concern for U.K. consumers that had increased on the previous quarter was rising utility bills, the survey showed. That comes as six of the country's largest energy providers hike their bills by an average of 9.1 percent ahead of the onset of winter.
As developed markets showed a return to consumer confidence after six years of economic crisis, however, only marginal consumer confidence increases were reported in Latin America and Middle East and Africa.
Furthermore, in previous emerging economic powerhouses such as India and Brazil, consumer confidence was waning and recessionary sentiment was increasing. That reflected fears over the slowdown in economic growth that has beset both countries.
In terms of regional consumer confidence, however, everywhere except Asia-Pacific had experienced an increase, perhaps reflecting tensions in the region's emerging markets during August and September, the period in which the survey was conducted.
At this time, Asia-Pacific economies were reeling from intense capital outflows on widespread expectations that the U.S. Federal Reserve could taper its bond-buying program, a policy which has supported investment in the region as investors searched for higher yields.
Indeed, in addition the Nielsen survey revealed a marked increase in recessionary sentiment from respondents in Indonesia, Thailand and India where the summer sell-off was most pronounced.
Despite the slight decline in confidence, however, the intention to spend was most evident in Asia-Pacific and North America, showing that the momentum of consumption has not slowed down – particularly in China.
Venkatesh Bala, chief economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of Nielsen, said that it was important to keep the declines in perspective.
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"At the same time, we have to keep modest developing market declines in perspective. While India is significantly off peak optimism of 131 measured three years ago in 2010, it is still one of the largest and most confident countries in the world, and that has an impact on the entire region."
Conversely, he added that while it was positive to see an improvement in confidence in developed markets, it was going to be "a slow climb for economic conditions in the global economy to recover, and there is no sign of rapid expansion around the corner."
- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt