Firms most confident since 2019, consumers are bleak

In Photo: A family shops at a Makati supermarket over the weekend. The consumer confidence index fell to -24 percent this quarter from -19.3 percent in July to September.

Philippine companies’ confidence in the economy returned to its pre-pandemic level this quarter, while households became more pessimistic, according to central bank surveys released Friday. 

The business confidence index rose to 39.7 percent in the fourth quarter, a jump from the -5.6 percent reading in the previous three months and the highest since at least the last quarter of 2019 when it was at 40.2 percent. Meanwhile, the consumer confidence index fell to -24 percent this quarter from -19.3 percent in July to September. 

Easing mobility curbs, as vaccination ramps up and Covid-19 cases decline, led to an improvement in businesses’ confidence, the central bank said, with an expected rise in demand during the Christmas season also giving it a boost.

Yet, households were more pessimistic amid high unemployment, low income and fast inflation, it said. 

The Philippines has begun seeing more evident green shoots of recovery after being among Asia’s hardest-hit by coronavirus outbreaks. The government raised its growth outlook for the year and sees faster expansion in 2022.

The surveys were done from October8 to November 18 for firms, and from October 1 to 13 for consumers. The capital region was under strict virus curbs in October.  Bloomberg News

Image credits: Nonie Reyes



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