MANILA - Consumer confidence in the country improved in the second quarter of the year as the overall confidence index (CI) rose to -30.9 percent from -34.7 percent in the previous quarter, showed the Consumer Expectation Survey released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Friday.
"The improved CI, albeit remaining negative, indicates that the number of households with pessimistic views decreased relative to the number in Q1 2021, but was still more than those with optimistic views," the BSP said in a statement.
Improved outlook was driven by expectations of more jobs and permanent employment, additional or higher income and effective government policies and programs to address COVID-19 concerns such as vaccines, financial assistance and easing quarantines, showed the study conducted from April 21 to May 1, with 5,701 households as respondents.
Consumer confidence for the third quarter and the next 12 months was also "upbeat" with the CI at 1.3 percent from -2.2 percent in Q1, the central bank said.
The CI for the next 12 months rose to 19.8 percent from the 17.9 percent in Q1 the survey, the BSP said.
Consumer outlook in terms of the 3 component indicators, namely economic condition, family's financial situation and family income also "generally improved" in the second quarter, the survey showed.
However, consumers' household spending outlook was less upbeat in the third quarter at 25.4 percent from 29 percent in the Q1 survey.
Buying sentiments for big-ticket items show record-low buying intentions for the next 12 months, the BSP said.
The percentage of households in the country that considered Q2 as a favorable time to buy big-ticket items was at 11.7 percent, a drop from 11.9 percent in Q1.
The percentage of those that considered the next 12 months to buy big-ticket items decreased to its lowest reading since Q1 of 2007 at 3.6 percent from 3.7 percent in the Q1 survey.
Meanwhile, the percentage of households with savings accounts in banks declined in Q2 to 19.4 percent from 20.1 percent in Q1, the BSP said.
Inflation and interest rates are expected to increase but the peso is seen to depreciate for the second quarter, third quarter and the next 12 months, respondents said.
Respondents believe the unemployment rate may rise in Q2 and Q3 but decline over the next 12 months, the survey showed.
Households anticipate the rate increase in commodity prices to remain within the government's 2 to 4 percent target range for 2021.
The BSP earlier said inflation could settle back within target this year instead of in 2022.
The number of OFW households that use remittances for the purchase of food and other needs slightly declined in Q2 to 96.2 percent from 96.4 percent in Q1, data showed.
At least 1 in every 4 households availed of a loan in the last 12 months, the survey showed.
For Q2, 25.3 percent availed of a loan, higher than the 22.9 percent recorded in Q1. At least 90.2 percent of the respondents said they found it easy to apply for a loan while the rest noted the number of requirements, difficulty in finding a willing lender, and the long processing time.
The BSP earlier kept interest rates at a record-low of 2 percent.