People in emerging economies are far more confident about their financial outlook than those in older economies, with 78% of Brazilians optimistic compared with just 4% of French people, a survey shows.
India came in second with 61%, followed by Saudi Arabia at 47% and China at 44%, according to "The Economic Pulse of the World" poll, carried out in December.
After France, the least optimistic countries were Japan,Hungary and Britain, raising questions about long-term spending habits there.
"People are not in the doldrums like they were in 2009. But there's only tepid confidence at this point," Cliff Young, pollster at Ipsos Public Affairs, told the news service, referring to overall global sentiment.
The outlook for the global economy will be top of the agenda at the World Economic Forum in Davos, which runs from Jan. 26-30.
As Reuter notes, Germany, whose economy grew last year at its fastest pace since reunification, was the most optimistic country in Europe. Even so, just 27% of Germans thought the economy would strengthen further. Despite the country's 2010 bounce-back from recession, consumer spending has stayed modest.
The Ipsos survey, conducted monthly, also showed Germany's optimism reading tumbled 8 points in December, raising questions as to how sustained its upturn may be. Russia experienced a similarly large decline.
Among country groupings, people were most upbeat in Latin America (52%), the BRIC nations of Brazil, Russia, India and China (50%), and the Middle East and Africa (32%). Europe clocked in last (16%).
The poll was conducted Dec. 10-Dec. 20, surveying nearly 19,000 people.