MANILA – Filipino consumers are more optimistic in the fourth quarter as they expect more availability of jobs and business activity, and stability in prices of commodities, a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) survey showed.
Results from the latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) showed that the confidence index is still negative at -21.8 percent, but it’s an improvement from the -26.3 percent in the previous quarter.
A negative index means there are more pessimists than optimists during the period.
“Their improved outlook during the current quarter was due to expectations of stable prices of commodities, availability of more jobs and increase in the number of employed family members, [and] good harvests,” said Teresita Deveza, deputy director at the BSP’s Department of Economic Statistics.
“[This is also because of expected] additional income or higher salary due to the recipe of Christmas bonus and thirteenth month pay, and brisker business activity leading to higher household income,” she added.
The confidence index for the whole year dropped to 9.6 percent from 9.7 percent.
“Consumers’ confidence on the country’s economic condition improved in the current quarter and next quarter but weakened for the year ahead,” Deveza said.
According to Deveza, consumers anticipated their family financial conditions to be more favorable for the current quarter and next quarter.
Stability is also seen next year compared to the previous quarter’s survey results.
“Their outlook on family income in the current quarter was broadly unchanged but improved for the next quarter and the year ahead,” Deveza said.
The number of households with savings dropped to 25.7 percent in the fourth quarter from 26.9 percent in the previous quarter. The respondents allocated savings for emergencies, health and hospitalization, retirement, education, and business capital and investment.
The respondents also had a “broadly steady” outlook for spending on basic goods and services.
“This indicates that respondents who expect to spend more on goods and services outnumbered those who said otherwise, but the number that said so remained unchanged from the previous quarter’s survey results as expectations on family finances increased,” Deveza said.
The upbeat consumer sentiment in the Philippines was also seen in Australia, China, Indonesia, Thailand, and the United States.
However, the same was not seen in Europe, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and the United Kingdom.
The BSP survey, which was conducted from October 1 to 11, covered 6,389 households.