MANILA, Philippines – A recent survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed that businesses in the Philippines welcomed 2014 with less optimism compared to the fourth quarter of 2013.
Business Expectations Survey showed a confidence index of 37.8 percent, the lowest since the index plunged to 34.1 percent in the third quarter of 2011.
The data was a significant drop from the 52.3 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2013.
BSP Department of Economic Statistics deputy director Teresita Deveza said the respondents attributed the lack of confidence to the "usual slowdown in business activity and moderation of consumer demand after Christmas, and the peso depreciation which would hurt importers."
She added that the drop was caused by "rising prices of oil and other utilities, strong market competition, and lack of supply of raw materials."
Deveza said that despite the less favorable overall outlook on the macroeconomy, “the outlook of firms across sectors on their business operations was generally upbeat in the first quarter."
A more optimistic outlook was seen in firms in mining and quarrying and agriculture; fishery and forestry; business process outsourcing; manpower providers; customer and technical support; health care; schools; and entertainment and amusement while a less favorable outlook was seen in businesses in the manufacturing; electricity, gas and water; financial intermediation; hotels and restaurants; real estate; and transportation industries.
Deveza noted that optimism rose to 50.8 percent for the second quarter.
"Respondents cited the anticipated increase in demand during the secondary harvest season, graduation and enrollment periods, and summer season with the expected influx of both local and foreign tourists," she said.
The latest poll, which was conducted from Jan. 9 to Feb. 20, surveyed a total of 1,525 firms with a response rate of 83.1 percent.