Global consumer confidence improves in Q2

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Consumer confidence around the world improved in the second quarter, according to a survey by researchers Nielsen, suggesting that the public is embracing the idea of a global economic recovery.

The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence Index rose to 82 in June, an increase of 5 points from March, spurred by renewed consumer optimism and stock market gains in emerging markets and key Asian countries.

“In the previous survey conducted in March, we were seeing the first signs that as far as the world’s consumers were concerned, the recession had bottomed out,” said Jonathan Banks, business insights director at Nielsen. “Three months later, they’re starting to embrace the idea of recovery ? which is a major turning point.”

In the survey of 14,029 consumers in 28 countries, 71 percent of respondents thought their country was in recession, down from a high of 77 percent when the survey ran in March.

Banks said that standout markets for the resumption of confidence included India, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and Indonesia. Taiwan, Brazil, Singapore, Turkey, Russia, Philippines and Britain also recorded improvement.

“Consumers in emerging and Asian markets are clearly of the view that they are driving in the recovery lane now,” said Banks.

The exceptions to the upswing were the United States and New Zealand, which both held flat, and Germany, which recorded a decline of one point.

Whether confidence is retained remains to be seen ? British economists were shocked last week by official figures showing the economy had contracted by twice as much as economists had forecast in the second quarter.

The 0.8 percent fall in gross domestic product between April and June led analysts to suggest that recent hopes of a recovery have run ahead of reality.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.