MANILA - Businessmen were less optimistic in the first three months of the year, reflecting a seasonal slowdown in business activity and concerns over higher fuel pries due to tax reform, according to a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas survey.
The overall confidence index was at 39.5 percent in the first quarter, compared to 43.3 percent in the last 3 months of 2017. This means the number of optimists declined but still outnumbered pessimists, the BSP said in a statement.
For the April to June quarter, the same BSP survey showed that the consumer index picked up to 47.8 percent, from the 39.7 percent reading for the same period, which was taken in a previous survey.
The improved outlook for the second quarter was due to an expected spike in consumer demand during summer, an anticipated pick-up in government spending due to President Rodrigo Duterte's P8 trillion infrastructure program and the expansion of businesses.
The first quarter business sentiment also mirrored the less favorable outlook in the US, Canada, China, Hong Kong and South Korea, the BSP said.