MANILA - Businesses were less optimistic in the last quarter of this year and the first quarter of next year amid concerns over inflation, interest rates and the value of the peso, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said Thursday.
The BSP's latest business expectations survey said businessmen's overall confidence index declined to 27.2 percent in the fourth quarter from 30.1 percent in third quarter. This was the lowest level since the first quarter of 2010.
This means that the number of optimists declined, but continued to be greater than the number of pessimists during the quarter, the BSP said.
Besides inflation, interest rates and the peso's weakness, businessmen also cited a decrease in the volume of sales and orders and the lack of supplies of raw materials as among their concerns.
"Respondents expected the less bullish business conditions to continue for the quarter ahead," the BSP said.
For January to March 2019, business confidence index was at 29.4 percent.
The BSP said survey results showed that businesses anticipated inflation to increase, the peso to depreciate, and interest rates to rise for the current and next quarters.