(File pix) Nielsen Malaysia’s managing director Raphael Pereda says the consumer confidence level for Malaysia remains on par with that of the second quarter this year, below the neutral threshold, but still remaining at its highest level for over two years.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian consumer confidence remain stable in the third quarter (Q3) of 2017 with an index score of 93 percentage points (pp) – down one point compared to Q2 2017, according to the latest Global Survey of Consumer Confidence and Spending Intentions released recently by Nielsen.

In a statement today, Nielsen said whilst confidence level stayed steady, the nation slipped four spots to be 32nd most confident country globally, from 28th last quarter.

Nielsen Malaysia’s managing director Raphael Pereda said the consumer confidence level for Malaysia remains on par with that of the second quarter this year, below the neutral threshold, but still remaining at its highest level for over two years.

“The higher trend in sentiment observed over the last couple of quarters, coupled with the continued improvement in key economic indicators has also led to the first quarter of growth in FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) this year,” he said.

Established in 2005, the Nielsen Consumer Confidence Index is fielded quarterly in 63 countries to measure the perceptions of local job prospects, personal finances, immediate spending intentions and related economic issues of real consumers around the world.

Besides that, Nielsen said Malaysian consumers continue to rank the nation’s fiscal status and job security as their top two key concerns whilst 17 per cent of the survey respondents also list debt as the third most worrisome.

Despite positive economic indicators, it said recessionary sentiments among Malaysians continue to remain high.

However, at least one in four respondents are feeling positive that the country will be out of an economic recession in the coming 12 months.

Malaysian consumers also continue to remain upbeat on their state of personal finances with 56 per cent perceiving that their state of personal finances to be either good or excellent in the next 12 months. 45 per cent of the respondents also feel confident about the local employment outlook over the next 12 months.

Other key areas of concern that recorded a slight increase compared to the last quarter include work/life balance, health and increasing fuel prices.

“The Malaysian economy continued to show strong signs of positive growth with a GDP (gross domestic product) of 6.2 per cent in Q3 2017, yet the number one concern for Malaysian consumers remains with the economy.

“Many still believe they are in a recession, further highlighting that the trickle effect of the improving economy is yet to fully take effect.

“Despite the fact that none of the economic KPIs indicate that the country is in a recession, consumers continue to believe that the current situation and the future for the country is not positive,” said Pereda.