Inflation, higher fares, jobs dampen consumer confidence in Q2

Katherine Visconti
Consumers are down and out amid higher power rates, increases in transportation fares and anticipated tuition hikes

MANILA, Philippines – Confidence among Filipino consumers is weakening with many Filipinos citing jumps in the cost of goods, unemployment and household expenditures.

Consumer confidence for April to June declined to -19.5% in the second quarter from -14.7% in the first 3 months of the year, according to the results of the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) Consumer Expectations Survey released on Friday, June 15.

This year’s drop marks the biggest for the period in the past 2 years. Why are consumers singing the blues?

“Concerns over the increase in transport fares in March, the expected upward adjustments in power rates (which took effect in May), and the anticipated hike in tuitions fees could have… put additional strain on family finances, pushing household expenditures up and real income down,” said the BSP.

The latest BSP survey also showed that all economic groups — low, middle and high — recorded drops in sentiment about the economic condition of the country.

High-income respondents were still optimistic about family income and financial situation. Those in the middle-income bracket remained upbeat at least about family income. While those in the low-income group were pessimistic about all 3 – the country, their family’s income and their financial situation.

This survey reflects almost similar sentiments by respondents in a Pulse Asia survey released a few days ago. The latter showed that inflation is key reason behind the lower rating on President Aquino’s performance

Rising inflation, unemployment

Respondents see inflation increasing to 8.8% in April-June quarter from 8.3% in January-March. BSP attributed to the expectation of higher prices due to continuing tensions in the Middle East and the expected upward adjustment in power rates.

Households also expect to spend more on basic goods in the 3rd quarter. With school starting in June the biggest spending increases in the 2nd quarter were for education, clothing, footwear, transportation and communication. 

Meanwhile, 60.2% of respondents believe unemployment will increase in the next 12 months, compared to only 52.8% in the last quarter. Households “anticipate tougher competition for jobs as the new college and high school graduates join the labor force during the quarter,” said BSP.

Results were culled from April 2 to 16 survey on 5,830 households, of which 50.7% were from the National Capital Region and 49.3% from other regions except of the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao. – Rappler.com