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Consumers bullish but not traders — polls

Consumer outlook has been improving steadily since third quarter 2020.



Consumer sentiment on the economy improved in the third quarter this year, the results of a Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) poll released yesterday showed.

BSP senior director Redentor Paolo Alegre said overall confidence index or CI of consumers was less negative at minus 19.3 percent in the third quarter 2021 versus the minus 30.9 percent quarter-ago.

“Consumer outlook has been improving steadily since third quarter 2020, the quarter when the index reverted to negative mainly due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Alegre said during a virtual press conference on Friday.

According to him, the latest outturn translates to a lower number of households with a pessimistic view on the economy.

Still, the BSP executive said respondents attributed their improved outlook to the availability of more jobs, higher income and effective government policies and programs in addressing Covid-19 related concerns.

Likewise, consumer sentiment for the fourth quarter 2021 improved, with the overall CI growing to 2.7 percent from only 1.3 percent view quarter-ago.

Business outlook sours
Economic outlook on the viewpoint of employers in the third quarter, however, turned sour, reversing its previous three-consecutive optimistic sentiment streak.

Overall CI among businesses dropped to minus 5.6 percent in the third quarter 2021 from the posted 1.4 percent in the second quarter, reflecting a decrease in the number of optimists during the period.

According to Alegre, respondents attributed their pessimism to the ongoing pandemic and its protracted effects to their operations, the reimposition of hard lockdowns, the reduction in sales, orders and income as well as concerns over government policies among others.

Nevertheless, business sentiment for the next quarter remained optimistic with 31.9 percent, up from the 31.4 percent view quarter-ago.

In terms of loans, senior assistant governor Iluminada Sicat said businesses, while having a less optimistic outlook for the quarter, tend to borrow more versus households as the latter continue to remain uncertain amid current economic conditions.