Vietnam consumer confidence dips amid economic concerns: survey

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Vietnam's online consumer confidence continued to fall in the first quarter due to concerns over the current state of the economy, according to a recent survey by Nielsen Vietnam.

With its confidence index dipping five points to 98, below the Asia Pacific average of 106, the country now stands as the 15th most confident country in the world, the research firm said Monday.

"All signs point to consumer concern over the current state of the economy," the firm said, noting that 61 percent of Vietnamese believed the economy was in a recession.

The Vietnamese continue to be "cautiously optimistic" as 60 percent believe job prospects are good-to-excellent over the coming 12 months, Nielsen Vietnam said. However, only 56 percent believe their personal finances will be good to excellent.

The Nielsen Global Online Consumer Confidence Survey tracks consumer confidence, major concerns and spending intentions among more than 28,000 Internet consumers in 51 countries.

In the latest survey for the first quarter of this year, global consumer confidence rose two points to an index of 92, driven by record confidence gains in the Middle East and Africa.

"Global recovery, despite its slow pace, is heading in the right direction," said Venkatesh Bala, Chief Economist at The Cambridge Group, a part of The Nielsen Company. "Still, more than half (55 percent) of global online consumers say they are currently in a recession, and of those, 51 percent expect to be in a recession for at least another year."

India remained the most optimistic country in first quarter, followed by Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.

The research firm said the rise in food prices is now what worries consumers most.

"Rising fuel and food prices are taking a toll on consumers around the world as more and more households are spending a higher proportion of their limited income on these necessities," said Bala.

Vietnam's inflation, driven by food prices, reached almost 20 percent in May. The government last week revised the annual inflation target to 15 percent, the second revision in just a month.

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