Consumer pessimism persists

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CES: Optimistic households grew in Q4 but still outnumbered

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Consumer sentiment about the Philippine economy improved in the fourth quarter in terms of the number of optimistic households but remained outnumbered by those who viewed their prospects negatively, the central bank’s latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) showed.

In a press briefing on Friday, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the overall confidence index (CI) in the fourth quarter of 2014 clawed its way back to minus 21.8 percent from minus 26.3 percent in the third quarter of the year.

Year-on-year, data showed that the CI during the quarter was slightly lower than the minus 21.3 percent CI in the same quarter of 2013.

“The higher but still negative CI in the fourth quarter means that the number of the households with an optimistic outlook increased but they continued to be outnumbered by those who think otherwise,” the BSP said.

Respondents who did indicate an improved outlook during the current quarter pointed to expectations of stable commodity prices, availability of more jobs and increases in the number of employed family members, and good harvests.

Additional income/higher salary due to receipt of Christmas bonuses and 13th month pay, as well as brisker business activity leading to higher household income also contributed to the positive sentiment.

Better outlook for 2015
For the next quarter, consumer expectations turned sanguine as the CI moved into positive territory. CI for the first quarter of 2015 edged upward to 0.7 percent from minus 1 percent a quarter ago.

“This indicates that the number of households with positive outlook increased and exceeded those with negative views,” the survey stated.

The CI is computed as the percentage of households that answered in the affirmative less the percentage of households that answered in the negative with respect to their views on a given indicator.

Consumer confidence is measured across three indicators: the country’s economic condition, family financial situation, and family income.

The CES is a quarterly survey of households drawn from the Philippine Statistics Authority-National Statistics Office’s Master Sample List of Households, which is considered a representative sample of households nationwide.

The survey was conducted from October 1 to 11, 2014 and surveyed 6,389 households nationwide.

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