Macau’s consumers downbeat about home purchases says survey

A survey conducted by the private Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) found that Macau’s consumer confidence dropped slightly in the fourth quarter last year, with buying a flat recording a score of 54.89 (out of 200), down from 59.27 in the previous quarter.

The results of the survey on Macau’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) for the fourth quarter last year compared to all previous results were presented in a press conference on Monday, hosted by Associate Professor Liu Chengkun of the university’s Institute for Sustainable Development (ISD), and project co-ordinator Chu Sam Iong, on the MUST campus in Taipa.

The index values range from 0 (absolutely no confidence) to 200 (complete confidence), with a benchmark of 100 meaning “neutral”. A value below the benchmark indicates “little confidence”, while a value above 100 means “having confidence”.

The survey showed that the CCI has been less than 100 every quarter since the first one was published in the fourth quarter of 2008, indicating the city’s residents haven’t had enough confidence to make any major purchases throughout the eight-year period.

The index is composed of six factors including the local economy, employment, inflation, standard of living, cost of housing, and investment.

The survey asked 1,002 randomly chosen respondents aged 18 or above on the telephone.

The overall CCI recorded 83.63 for the fourth quarter of last year, down from 85.67 in the previous quarter, and was below 88.4 for the fourth quarter in 2012, which was the highest since the survey was launched.

The survey showed that “home purchases” and “inflation” have registered the lowest values among the six factors every quarter beginning in the second quarter of 2009 – except for the second quarter of last year. The low values for these two categories mean that consumers are not at all confident about buying a home and their confidence level is greatly diminished by inflation.

For “home purchases”, the figure for the fourth quarter last year recorded a third consecutive decline, dropping to 54.89 from 59.27 in the previous quarter. The survey said the decline indicated that “the public’s pessimism about purchasing a property is increasing”.

The “home purchases” sub-index saw its lowest scores in the first quarter of 2010 (37.6) and the third quarter of 2014 (38.3), since the survey was launched.

The only sub-index with values higher than 100 was “employment” for the fourth quarter of last year. Its score was 100.28 for the fourth quarter, down from 102.48 in the previous quarter.

The “employment” sub-index saw its highest score of 127.7 in the first quarter of 2014 since the survey was launched.

(Macau News / The Macau Post Daily)