,All quiet at a shopping mall on Thursday, July 29, 2021 as non-essential services and businesses close.
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KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Institute of Economic Research’s (MIER) consumer sentiments report for the second quarter to June showed signs of consumer fatigue are becoming more apparent and it could worsen.
MIER said not only had consumers’ finances deteriorated further recently, their expectations of their finances and, especially, their assessment of the employment outlook in the next six months are anything but positive.
“Consumers simply do not have the cash to shop, and spending less than before is no longer an option, which means that shoppers, given their tight budgetary constraints, will need to prioritise their buying plans for now,” it said in the report issued late Thursday.
MIER said the survey showed consumer confidence has taken a beating lately amid the Covid-19 pandemic which does not seem to be going away anytime soon.
At a time when businesses are scaling or closing down, manufacturing is weak and foreign currencies are struggling, consumers will be counted on to keep the economy going at a steady, or sustainable, clip.
“But based on the latest findings of consumer sentiments, home sales and other spending plans, consumers are showing signs of buckling under the task. This is because they need hard cash which they don’t seem to have much of, or any, right now, and this could choke the momentum of consumer spending.
“With jobs looking harder to come by now, the latest dull spending plans clearly reflects households’ sagging finances, suggesting that any slowdown in consumer buying in the third quarter could be even sharper. That means that overall economic growth may not hold up as well,” it said.
The MIER report said ike the business community, consumers, too, will exercise more caution with their cash and spending in the days to come or they may just sit out the next quarter or two.
The think-tank said consumers are looking increasingly worried these days, putting less faith on the economy as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to rage on.
Results of the MIER’s Consumer Sentiments Survey for 2Q21 show a further dent in consumer sentiments, with the Consumer Sentiments Index (CSI) plummeting a staggering 34.6 points quarter-on-quarter.
At 64.3, the latest reading is the second lowest ever recorded in this series, the highest being 1Q20 when the Covid-19 pandemic first reared its ugly head.
The imposition of the Movement Control Order (MCO) in May 2021 and rising new cases of people contracting the virus in the country have likely dampened consumer spirits lately.
The Star Online reported that as at noon Thursday, Malaysia continued to record high Covid-19 infections. There were 17,170 new cases, raising the total number to 1,078,646 cases.
Selangor continued to record high levels at 7,163 new infections and Kuala Lumpur 2,138. The death toll continued to mount, rising by 174 deaths to 8,725.