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Business confidence up in 1st semester

Joshua Lao



Firms’ economic outlook continue to improve in the first semester of 2021 following the higher confidence index (CI) observed in the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas’ (BSP) latest business expectations survey (BES).

With an overall CI of 17.4 percent as of first quarter this year, businesses proved to be more optimistic compared to the posted 10.6 percent quarter-ago.

Similarly, business owners’ sentiment for the second quarter grew to 42.8 percent from just 37.4 percent in the same comparable period.

BSP senior assistant governor iluminada Sicat explained that the more upbeat view could be owed to the positive developments both in the domestic and international scene, including the country’s mass inoculation, which has already started.

“(The) vaccine is already soon to be rolled out. As a matter of fact, some of the frontliners are already given the vaccine. Second, there are good developments in the global as well as domestic economic activity,” Sicat said during a virtual press conference on Thursday.

“In addition to that, there are already economies opening up, and these would provide opportunities also for some who have been displaced in the early part of 2020,” she added.

According to her, a hard lockdown, similar to what the state did last year was not the current direction of the government hence, affecting businesses’ optimism.

“This time around, the implementation of the lockdown is only in places where the incidence of the infection is high…even if we have the lockdown, you can see people reporting to work because there are already transport services,” the BSP executive explained.

While at it, the BES showed a better overall CI in terms of firms’ outlook for the next 12 months, growing to 60.5 percent from just 57.7 percent.

“Notably, the next 12 months CI is the highest index recorded since the start of the 12-month outlook in the third quarter 2019,” the central bank said.