Consumer sentiment for the first quarter improved year-on-year, although it stayed in the negative territory, as an encouraging outlook on the Philippine economy made Filipino households feel better about their income situations.
Results of the latest Consumer Expectation Survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that consumer confidence index (CCI) for the first quarter of the year stood at –11.2 percent, better than the -14.7 percent for the first quarter of last year.
The latest index, however, marked a deterioration from the -10.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2012.
According to the BSP, the latest CCI is the third highest since the survey was first conducted in 2007. The highest was the -8.5 percent for the fourth quarter of 2010 and the second highest was -10.4 percent for the fourth quarter of 2012.
CCI is the difference between the percentage of respondents who said they are optimistic about the economy and their income situations and those who said the opposite.
The survey, conducted nationwide by the BSP from Jan. 21 to Feb. 1, covered 5,670 households. The response rate was 96.9 percent. More than half, or 50.1 percent, of the respondents, were from the low-income group, or those households earning less than P10,000 a month.
Rosabel Guerrero, director of the economic statistics department of the BSP, said the better index for the first quarter was anchored on assumptions that the Philippine economy could sustain the positive momentum built in 2012.
Last year, the Philippine economy grew by 6.6 percent, beating the government’s target of 5 to 6 percent to become one of the fastest-growing markets worldwide.
Guerrero said the positive performance of the economy could have boosted employment and increased household incomes.
“The relatively steady sentiment was driven mainly by the fact that there are more jobs available, investment inflow are increasing, prices of goods are stable and salaries are increasing,” she said yesterday in a press briefing.
However, Guerrero said the positive factors that boosted sentiment were offset by the dampening effects of bad weather in December that dragged incomes.
“Consumer confidence was weighed down by the damage caused by Typhoon Pablo to infrastructure, agriculture, and private property in Mindanao,” Guerrero said.
Meantime, results of the survey also showed that Filipino households generally expected their economic conditions to further improve in the coming quarter and the year ahead.
The “next-quarter” CCI stood at +7.8 percent while the “next-year” CCI hit +18.5 percent.