MANILA, Philippines – Filipino consumers have become less optimistic in the first quarter of the year, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said before the weekend.
BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said on Friday, March 24, that based on the results of the 1st Quarter Consumer Expectation Survey (CES), the consumer confidence index (CI) slipped to 8.7% in the first quarter of this year, from a record-high 9.2% in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Gunigundo cited as reasons higher prices of goods and household expenditures, poor harvest, and unfavorable weather conditions.
Teresita Deveza, deputy director of the BSP Department of Economic Statistics (DES), said Filipino consumers are less optimistic about the second quarter as the confidence index slipped to 16.5% from 18.8% in the previous quarter.
She said the respondents of the survey, held from January 19 to 31, showed a less upbeat outlook for the next quarter due to higher prices of goods, the weakening of the peso against the US dollar, poor harvest due to bad weather conditions, and the slowdown in business activity.
The stock market has nose-dived while the peso fell to a 10-year low against the US dollar due to the normalization of interest rates in the US and uncertainties about the policies of US President Donald Trump.
The BSP survey showed Filipino consumers having a less confident outlook for the coming year, with the confidence index falling to 31.7.8% from 33.4%.
Guinigundo said that despite the dip in confidence, the consumer outlook remained steady due to a balance of negative and positive views on the economy. He described the decline as modest, adding that consumer confidence at 8.7% is still the second highest reading since the survey was held in 2007.
Optimism in the first quarter were driven by higher income, increased job availability, effective government policies, and improved peace and order.
Pessimists among the respondents also cited the proposed higher excise tax on fuels and cars, peace and order problems, poor weather conditions, and higher prices of commodities as reasons for a less positive outlook.
The BSP Consumer Confidence Index is a survey that reports on the consumer outlook of the economy as a possible indication of the country’s future economic conditions. It is based on family financial situation, family income, and the economic condition of the country.
The outlook on family condition remained fairly steady in the current quarter and the rest of the year.
The survey was conducted from January 19-31, and had a sample size of 5,547 households drawn from the Philippine Statistics Authority Master Sample List of Households. – Rappler.com