Businesses more pessimistic in Q3 as pandemic persists: BSP survey

Warren De Guzman, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 24 2021 06:08 PM

MANILA - Businesses have turned pessimistic while consumers' outlook was less pessimistic as shown in the latest business and consumer expectation surveys of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas released Friday.

The overall confidence index for businesses surveyed declined to -5.6 percent in Q3 from 1.4 percent in Q2, the BSP said in a statement.

"After 3 consecutive quarters of optimistic sentiment, the outlook of business owners on the economy turned pessimistic," the Business Expectation Survey (BES) showed.

This, as businesses and consumers alike were surprised by how long the pandemic has been going. 

The country first imposed a quarantine measure in March 2020. 

Metro Manila's return to tighter restriction in early August was reflected in the business confidence survey but not in the consumer survey, the BSP told reporters.

The BES was conducted from July 22 to Sept. 15 while the Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) was done from July 1 to 14.

Businesses that were more pessimistic cited the ECQ, poor sales, and inflation for their outlook.

Consumers, meanwhile, were less pessimistic because they felt there were more opportunities for jobs and income, the survey showed.

Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila said he has spotted a trend in the BES and CES data in the pandemic. 

“I’d say that the expectation ever since this pandemic started, both consumers and businesses were expecting it to be of shorter duration than what it had actually endured. The expectations are on the whole, being revised downwards for the current quarter," Dakila said.

"In other words, they have been more optimistic for the next quarter, and then when that quarter comes, the expectations are being revised downward," he added.

But the optimism shown signalled that once the pandemic is over, recovery is likely to be quick, Dakila said.

"Filipinos are always looking at the brighter side of things. When that happens, I’ll say there is going to be quite a swift rebound of activity," he said.

Consumers and businesses borrowed less this quarter, BSP Department of Economic Statistics Senior Director Paolo Alegre said.

The BSP kept the benchmark interest rate at a record low of 2 percent to stimulate lending activity in the country.

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