Confident South African consumers.

Twice a year, Mastercard International, Inc. conducts a consumer confidence survey among seven countries in the South Asia, Middle East, Africa region. Results for South Africa were published on May 19, 2006 by Business Day (Johannesburg). The results showed that South Africa placed second (after Kuwait) in the countries surveyed. South Africa consumers scored 91.9 out of a possible 100.

The survey is forward-looking asking consumers to rate their feelings looking ahead six months on five variables: Employment, economy, regular income, stock market and quality of life. Rating a variable at 50 indicates neutral sentiment. Rating a variable between 51 and 100 indicates positive sentiment. And a rating of 49 and less indicates negative sentiment.

South Africa's 91.9 score was 25 percent higher than in the survey conducted six months earlier. It represents a 30 month high, according to Business Day, and the resounding positive tone of the results can be attributed to "stable interest rates, higher economic growth rates and positive prospects regarding the outlook for the economy as a whole."

A posting on the MasterIndex website provided detail on each of the five variables for South Africa. Consumers scored "regular income"...

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