US consumer confidence up for first time in 2 yrs

Written by Reuters | Hong Kong | Updated: Oct 29 2009, 05:43am hrs
Global consumer confidence is rebounding, and in the United States has risen for the first time since 2007, amid signs the world economy is picking up although spending is still restrained, a survey showed on Wednesday.

Confidence was highest in India, followed by Indonesia and Norway, and was weakest in Japan, Latvia, Portugal and South Korea, although in Korea it had improved markedly, according to a quarterly survey by The Nielsen Company, conducted between September 28 and October 16.

Consumer confidence is rising faster in Bric countries than other markets, driven by increasing job prospects, Oliver Rust, managing director of Nielsen Hong Kong, said.

In the United States and Europe, high unemployment continued to discourage spending on big-ticket items although confidence had improved as the worst appeared to be over for those economies, New York-based Nielsen said.

In the USthe worlds biggest consumer marketconsumer sentiment rose from three months ago for the first time since early 2007. The data contrasts with a Conference Board index of US consumer confidence, released on Tuesday, which showed a sharp deterioration in confidence this month.

The US reading in The Nielsen Global Consumer Confidence survey at 84 was up 4 points from a similar survey in July but just below the global average reading of 86 and well below Indias score of 120 and Indonesia on 115.

While consumer confidence in the United States edged up 4 index points, that hasnt translated into spending confidence for the vast majority of American consumers, said James Russo, vice-president, global consumer insights at The Nielsen Company. Clearly, this recovery will be manifested in measured and restrained spending as consumers work to repair their balance sheets. A reading above 100 is considered optimistic. The global average was up four points from a similar survey in July.