CONSUMER sentiment in the country significant improved, albeit remained negative, in the fourth quarter as the economy’s favorable performance boosted the outlook of some households on their own incomes.
Results of the latest Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed that for the fourth quarter of 2012, the consumer confidence index (CCI) stood at -10.4 percent. This was an improvement from the -13.3 percent for the third quarter and the -20.6 percent for the fourth quarter of last year.
This was also the second-highest index recorded since the central bank started conducting the CES in 2007. The highest was registered in the fourth quarter of 2010 at -8.5 percent.
According to Rosabel Guerrero, director of the central bank’s economic statistics department, the improvement in the index came with the belief that the improving performance of the overall economy led to higher investments that, in turn, increased employment opportunities.
The improvement in the index was also credited to a perception of good governance by the Aquino administration, increased investments of the government in infrastructure that could help generate more private-sector investments, and efforts to improve the peace-and-order situation in Mindanao.
The index is computed as the percentage of respondents who said they felt better off during the period than in the past less the percentage of pessimistic respondents.
BSP Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said that one of the highlights of the results of the latest quarterly survey on consumers was that the increase in the index was due largely to the improved sentiment of low-income households, or those with monthly incomes of P10,000 or below.
The nationwide survey covered 5,789 households, of which a little over half or 51.7 percent were respondents from the low-income segment.
“The improvement in the sentiment of low-income households is very encouraging. In the past, it has always been the low-income groups that were dragging the index,” Guinigundo said.
Meantime, results of the survey showed the expectations that economic conditions both of households and the entire country would improve in the coming quarter and the year ahead. The “next-quarter” index stood at +6.3 percent, while the “next-year” index hit an even better figure of +6.8 percent.
The “next quarter” index reflects expectation of households on how their and the country’s economic conditions will improve in the coming quarter, while the “next-year” index indicates expectations for the coming year.