By Joanne Villanueva
Bullish sentiment for Filipino businessmen remains high in the fourth quarter of 2019 due to the holiday and the harvest seasons, however, consumers are mot happy due to higher commodity prices.
In a briefing Friday, Department of Economic Statistics (DES) officer in charge Fernando Silvoza said confidence index (CI) under the business expectation survey (BES) rose to 40.2 percent from 37.7 percent during the survey in the third quarter of the year.
The sanguinity of investors in the country was similar to those in Brazil, Chile, Hungary, and the Netherlands, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) announced.
Respondents attributed their optimism to higher consumer demand during the holidays and the harvest season; increase in sales, orders, and projects; more favorable macroeconomic conditions; higher government spending, particularly on infrastructure; and business expansion.
They also cited the positive impact of the country’s hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games.
Among the different types of trading firms, business sentiment by importers and domestic-oriented firms were more buoyant as they anticipated an increase in sales and higher demand on pharmaceutical products, and food and beverages during the holiday and harvest season.
“That is where we can see the effect of the trade war indirectly,” BSP Deputy Governor Francisco Dakila, Jr. said during the same briefing.
Among the selected economic indicators, businesses expected the peso to strengthen against the US dollar, inflation rate to increase, and for interest rate to ease further in the last quarter of the year.
On the other hand, CI, under the consumer expectation survey (CES), declined to 1.3 percent from the previous quarter’s 4.6 percent.
Respondents traced the drop in their optimism to higher prices of commodities, low or no increase in salary/income, increase in household expenses, and high unemployment rate.
Their spending outlook on basic goods and services were broadly steady for the first quarter of 2020 at 37.1 percent from 36.2 percent in the previous quarter.
“This indicates that respondents who expect to spend more on goods and services outnumbered those who said otherwise,” the BSP report said.
The result of the CES also showed that households that have savings declined, with the percentage declining to 36.3 percent from an all-time high of 37.5 percent last quarter.
The respondents said they were saving to prepare for emergencies, health and hospitalization, education, retirement, business capital and investment, and purchase of real estate.
(First published in PNA)