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New Zealanders Are Consistently Confident

MasterIndex Survey Shows New Zealanders Are Consistently Confident

New Zealand, February 19, 2003 – New Zealanders are consistently optimistic about economic conditions in the country, according to the latest MasterIndex Survey of Consumer Confidence™.

“This is in sharp contrast with Australia, where consumer confidence has plummeted to a five year low,” said Leigh Clapham, MasterCard International’s Senior Vice President and General Manager for Australasia.

“New Zealanders deserve to be complimented on their consistently optimistic outlook. They have remained so for the last four MasterIndex surveys – a feat no other market except China has been able to duplicate,” he said.

The MasterIndex is MasterCard International’s regular report on consumer confidence across Asia/Pacific. Conducted every six months since 1993, it surveys 13 major markets in the Asia Pacific region: Australia, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. It ascertains consumer perceptions on the economic conditions within their market for the next six months and is based on responses to five MasterIndex Economic Factors: Employment, Economy, Regular Income, Stock Market and Quality of Life. The MasterIndex is the average of the index scores of these five factors.

New Zealand ranks fourth in the region on 65.8, behind China (84.4), Malaysia (73.0) and Thailand (70.3) for its optimistic outlook, ahead of India (62.1) and Indonesia (56.0).

“New Zealand respondents are most upbeat about their prospects of regular income over the next six months at 86.4, but least enthusiastic about the health of the stockmarket at 57.1,” said Mr Clapham.

At 65.8, New Zealand is 9.4 down on its previous MasterIndex score of 75.2 of Q2 2002, but it is still way ahead of Australia, where confidence has dropped 14 percentage points from 58.6 in Q2 2002. A pessimistic view of the stockmarket led the way down with a 39 percentage point drop in confidence.

“It is clear that with more and more Australians becoming shareholders, the level of consumer confidence in Australia is directly linked to the fortunes of the ASX,” Mr Clapham says. In contrast, confidence in the New Zealand stockmarket declined 11.8 percentage points.

Aside from Australia, six other countries (Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore, Philippines, Taiwan and Korea) recorded falling consumer confidence, thereby dragging down the overall regional outlook.

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