Source: BSP Consumer Expectations Survey for Q4
Filipino households continued to show strong optimism in the lastest central bank survey, pushing the index for the fourth quarter of 2016 up to an all-time high on a generally positive perception of the overall condition of the economy, household finances and household income.
The confidence index (CI)—computed as the percentage of those that answered in the affirmative less the percentage of those that answered otherwise—rose to an all-time high of 9.2 percent for the fourth quarter of 2016, up from the 2.5 percent recorded in the third quarter, and the negative 8.1 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015, according to results of the latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) released Friday.
The index measures the average direction of change in three indicators—overall condition of the economy, household finances, and household income. A positive CI indicates a favorable view with regard to a given indicator, except for inflation, interest rates, unemployment and change in prices, where a positive CI indicates the opposite.
“This is the second consecutive quarter that consumer confidence registered a positive reading, indicating that the number of households with optimistic views increased and outnumbered those with pessimistic views,” the central bank said.
Respondents to the survey also said they perceived an improvement in the law-and-order situation in the country and welcomed the end to the practice of job contractualization or “endo” by companies, as well as the no-window-hour policy on the car plate numbers coding scheme, anticipated increase in salaries and the availability of more jobs.
“Respondents also [positively]cited assistance from government such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps), new administration/president, less corruption, anti-drug campaign and improvement in services of government agencies (e.g., NBI clearance and birth certificate), which helped boost consumer confidence for the current quarter,” it added.
The nationwide survey—conducted from October 3 to 14 —covered 6,036 households, of which 3,098 or 51.3 percent were from the National Capital Region (NCR) and 2,938 or 48.7 percent were from areas outside the NCR.
Less optimistic 2017
Moving forward, Filipino consumers were less optimistic about the first quarter of next year, with the index declining to 18.8 percent from 27.3 percent a quarter ago, the central bank noted, using a different set of numbers.
“This indicates that the number of households with positive outlook decreased but continued to exceed those with negative views,” it said.
The less upbeat outlook for the next quarter and the year ahead stemmed from concerns about higher prices of goods; lower income; unstable stock market; fewer investors in the country; and issues related to the extrajudicial killings.