PHILIPPINE consumer sentiment remained gloomy in the second quarter due to expectations of higher expenditures, an expected increase in the number of jobless persons as new graduates enter the labor force, and unchecked graft and corruption in government.
Based on the results of the latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) of the central bank, overall confidence index (CI) in the second quarter of the year stood at minus 16.2 percent, worsening from minus 10 percent in the first quarter although slightly better than the minus 17.3 percent recorded in the second quarter of 2014.
“This indicates that the number of pessimists increased and continued to exceed the number of optimists for the second quarter of 2015,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a press briefing on Thursday.
The survey was conducted from April 1 to 15, 2015 and surveyed 6,151 households nationwide.
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.
According to the CES, respondents attributed their bearish outlook during the current quarter to the anticipated higher prices of commodities due to an increase in domestic oil prices, power rate hike and higher tuition fees, which could lead to higher household expenditures.
The respondents also expect an increase in the number of unemployed persons as new graduates enter the labor force.
Graft and corruption in the government were also perceived as another reason for the lack of consumer confidence, the survey said.
“Respondents also cited their concerns on the peace and order situation in the country following the death of 44 members of the Special Action Force and the political issues behind it, occurrence of calamities such as fire, typhoons, and floods as well as the impact of the El Nino dry spell on agricultural output as reasons behind their weaker outlook,” it added.
Outlook for Q3
The CES said the less favorable consumer sentiment was carried to the next quarter as the CI reverted to negative territory at minus 0.4 percent from 4.4 percent in the first quarter 2015.
“Consumers attributed their less optimistic outlook to concerns over the perceived graft and corruption in the government and expected occurrences of typhoons and other calamities as well as the effects of the El Nino phenomenon,” the survey said.
Meanwhile, consumer confidence for the year ahead remained broadly steady at 16.4 percent from 17.3 percent in the previous quarter’s survey.
The CES is a quarterly survey of households drawn from the Philippine Statistics Authority Master Sample List of Households, which is considered a representative sample of households nationwide.