Mindanao Times

Biz sentiment up in Q4, consumers less upbeat

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MANILA -- Optimism among Filipino businessme­n rose in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the holiday and the harvest seasons, but consumer confidence slipped due to higher commodity prices.

In a briefing Friday, Department of Economic Statistics (DES) officer in charge Fernando Silvoza said confidence index (CI) under the business expectatio­n survey (BES) rose to 40.2 percent from 37.7 percent during the survey in the third quarter of the year.

The sanguinity of investors in the country was similar to those in Brazil, Chile, Hungary, and the

Netherland­s, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced.

Respondent­s attributed their optimism to higher consumer demand during the holidays and the harvest season; increase in sales, orders, and projects; more favorable macroecono­mic conditions; higher government spending, particular­ly on infrastruc­ture; and business expansion.

They also cited the positive impact of the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.

Among the different types of trading firms, business sentiment by importers and domesticor­iented firms were more buoyant as they anticipate­d an increase in sales and higher demand on pharmaceut­ical products, and food and beverages during the holiday and harvest season.

“That is where we can see the effect of the trade war indirectly,” BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila, Jr. said during the same briefing.

Among the selected economic indicators, businesses expected the peso to strengthen against the US dollar, inflation rate to increase, and for interest rate to ease further in the last quarter of the year.

On the other hand, CI, under the consumer expectatio­n survey (CES), declined to 1.3 percent from the previous quarter’s 4.6

percent.

Respondent­s traced the drop in their optimism to higher prices of commoditie­s, low or no increase in salary/income, increase in household expenses, and high unemployme­nt rate.

Their spending outlook on basic goods and services were broadly steady for the first quarter of 2020 at 37.1 percent from 36.2 percent in the previous quarter.

“This indicates that respondent­s who expect to spend more on goods and services outnumbere­d those who said otherwise,” the BSP report said.

The result of the CES also showed that households that have savings declined, with the percentage declining to 36.3 percent from an all-time high of 37.5 percent last quarter.

The respondent­s said they were saving to prepare for emergencie­s, health and hospitaliz­ation, education, retirement, business capital and investment, and purchase of real estate.

Households with overseas Filipino workers (OFW) who alloted remittance­s for savings increased, but those who allocated funds for investment­s went down. (PNA)

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