Businesses less confident, consumers more upbeat looking ahead

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 23) — Businesses are less bullish beyond the third quarter while consumers are more optimistic looking ahead, the latest surveys by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas showed.

The BSP published Friday its third-quarter Consumer Expectations Survey (CES) and Business Expectations Survey (BES), which measure consumer and business sentiment through confidence indices (CIs).

The latest BES yielded a CI for the next quarter of 43.9, down from 46.4 in the last poll. Business sentiment weakened for the second straight quarter, added the BSP.

Rising prices of commodities, services, raw materials, and fuel led to a less optimistic outlook for companies, according to the central bank report.

The weak peso and higher interest rates, along with the usual dampened activity because of the rainy season, also weighed down on business confidence.

CI for the next 12 months dwindled to 57.7 from 59.9 during the second-quarter BES, said the BSP, with businesses pessimistic for similar reasons mentioned.

Meanwhile, the CES showed higher overall CIs for the fourth quarter and next 12 months at 13.4 and 33.4, respectively, compared to 11.2 and 32.4 in the previous survey.

Survey participants attributed their more positive outlook to the higher availability of jobs and additional income, the central bank said.

Also among their reasons were expectations on good governance; "effective" policies and programs of the new administration for agriculture, education, and economic recovery from the pandemic; along with provision of pension and financial aid.

The Q3 BES was held from July 6 to 15 among 1,504 firms nationwide. Meanwhile, 5,546 households were polled for the CES from July 1 to 13.