Consumers less pessimistic in Q1 2016

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Consumer sentiment in the Philippines became less pessimistic in the first quarter of the year due to the availability of more jobs, stable prices of commodities, and the presence of more investors in the country, the central bank said on Tuesday.

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According to the latest Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) data released by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), the overall confidence index (CI) in January to March period improved to -5.7 percent from -8.1 percent in the last quarter and -10 percent in the first quarter last year.

“The higher—but still negative—CI for the first quarter of 2016 means that the number of households with optimistic views increased but continued to be less than those who think otherwise… The reason for such is due the to availability of more jobs, stable prices of commodities, more investors in the country,” Rosabelle Guerrero, director of BSP’s Director of Economic Statistics, said in a press briefing late Tuesday.

She said other factors cited by the respondents that helped boost their confidence were the oil price rollbacks, assistance programs from the government such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program or 4Ps, less corruption and anticipated election of new government officials.

The survey covered 5,673 households nationwide, 2,850 of which are from the National Capital Region (NCR) and 2,823 came from areas outside NCR.

Nearly half of the respondents were in the lower income group earning less than P10,000 per month, while 38.2 percent were in the middle income class or those that earn P10,000 to P29,999 monthly, and a mere 14 percent came from the higher income group that earns P30,000 and above monthly.

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.

In terms of consumer confidence—which evaluates the consumers’ view on the country’s economic condition, family financial situation, and family income—the data indicated that consumers’ confidence on economic condition and family financial situation improved, while their outlook on family income was steady.

Outlook for Q2 2016
According to the CES, consumer sentiment is seen to be more favorable in the next quarter.

“Consumer sentiment continued to be more favorable as the next quarter CI increased and remained in the positive territory at 9.1 percent (from 5.7 percent in the previous quarter’s survey), while the year ahead CI rose to 25.4 percent (from 18 percent for the fourth quarter of 2015),” Guerrero said.

The BSP data cited that the number of respondents with positive tallies increased and have exceeded those with negative views.

“Consumers were of the view that good governance and improvements in infrastructure and peace and order would continue over the next 12 months,” Guerrero said.

“They also anticipated lesser household expenses as well as increase in household income and savings which could translate to growth in real income and higher purchasing power of the household,” she added.

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.

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