• Consumers less pessimistic in Q1

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    Consumer sentiment among Philippine households during the first quarter continued to be dominated by pessimism, although the central bank survey for the period showed an increase in the number of households that held a bright outlook.

    Amid expectations of a continued decline in oil prices and commodity prices remaining stable, respondents to the Consumer Expectations Survey (CES), the overall confidence index (CI) in the first three months of the year, improved to minus 10 percent from minus 21.8 percent in the fourth quarter and minus 18.8 percent in the first quarter of 2014.

    “The higher but still negative CI in the first quarter means that the number of households with an optimistic outlook increased but they continued to be outnumbered by those who thought otherwise,” the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said in a press briefing on Friday.

    The survey was conducted from Jan 26 to Feb 5, 2015 and surveyed 5,818 households nationwide.

    Aside from expectations of lower oil prices and stable commodity prices, the improved outlook during the quarter was also due to more savings as a result of higher family incomes, as well as the availability of more jobs and more family members employed, the BSP said.

    A stronger peso and improvements in road infrastructure also helped buoy sentiment, it said.

    Respondents also cited fewer calamities, “less corruption in the government” and more assistance from the government such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (Conditional Cash Transfer Program) as factors for the improving outlook, the central bank said.

    Outlook for Q2, year ahead

    For the next quarter and the year ahead, consumer expectations continue to be more favorable. The confidence index for the next quarter increased and remained in positive territory at 4.4 percent from 0.7 percent in the previous quarter’s survey, the BSP said.

    Meanwhile, the confidence index for the year ahead jumped to 17.3 percent from 9.6 percent in the previous quarter.

    “This indicates that the number of consumers with favorable views increased and exceeded those with unfavorable views,” the survey stated.

    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.

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