THE level of optimism among Filipino households was at an all-time high in the second quarter of 2017, a turnaround from the negative sentiment recorded a year earlier, results of the latest Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) showed.
The confidence index (CI)—computed as the percentage of those that answered in the affirmative, minus the percentage of those that answered otherwise—totaled 13.1 percent in the second quarter from 8.7 percent in the first quarter.
In the second quarter of 2016, the CI was minus 6.4 percent, according to the central bank.
“This is the fourth consecutive quarter that consumer confidence registered positive reading, indicating that the
number of households with optimistic views increased and continued to be greater than those with pessimistic views,” BSP Department of Economic Statistics Director Rosabel Guerrero said during a press conference on the second quarter CES Friday.
The survey was conducted on April 1 to 12, or more than a month before fighting erupted between government troops and Islamist militants that prompted President Rodrigo Duterte to issue Proclamation 216 declaring martial law and suspending the writ of habeas corpus in Mindanao on May 23.
Behind their optimism, respondents with positive views cited improvements in the peace and order situation, additional family income due to higher salary and stronger business activity, availability of more jobs and an increase in the number of employed family members, and effective government policies.
“Their more positive outlook was also boosted by the assistance from government, for example, Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program and increase in pension of retirees, and expected higher Overseas Filipino remittances, as well as anticipated good harvest,” Guerrero added.
The CI measures the average direction of shifts in three indicators: household income, household finances and overall economic condition. A positive CI indicates a favorable view regarding a given indicator, except for inflation, unemployment, interest rates and change in prices. A negative CI indicates the opposite.
The nationwide survey covered 5,631 households—2,799 or 49.7 percent from the National Capital Region (NCR) and 2,832 or 50.3 percent from areas outside the NCR.
However, the latest survey also showed that households had a less optimistic outlook about the third quarter with the CI easing down to 13.6 percent from 16.5 percent in the previous survey.
There were concerns about inflation, particularly higher prices of goods, education—tuition fees—and lower income or no increase in income, according to the central bank.
The outlook for Q2 2018 also improved at 34.3 percent from 31.7 percent, on more upbeat perceptions regarding family income due to higher salary and stronger business activity, availability of more jobs and additional working family members, improvements in the peace and order situation, and influx of more investors in the country.