More Filipinos hopeful for a better year in 2020 – survey

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Most Filipinos expect a better year in 2020 as the poorest families grow more optimistic, a recent survey shows.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, December 20) — Most Filipinos are hopeful for a better 2020 with poor families growing more optimistic about the new year, a recent survey showed.

Research firm Pulse Asia reported that 93 percent of Filipinos said they will welcome the new year with hope, an improvement from the 91 percent reported in December 2018. About seven percent said they were undecided.

Visayans had the biggest boost, with the number of optimists surging from 88 percent to 98 percent this December. Mindanao residents also grew more hopeful about 2020 prospects, with the number rising by six points to 95 percent.

Some 95 percent of people in Metro Manila reported a hopeful outlook, while those in the rest of Luzon saw optimism slip to 90 percent.

READ: Why being an optimist is good for your heart

Pulse Asia included 1,200 adults in the survey conducted from December 3 to 8. Among the issues faced at the time were the pickup in price increases of basic goods in November, President Rodrigo Duterte's refusal to pay indemnities to water firms Maynilad and Manila Water, the imposition of stricter standards for imported rice, the series of typhoons which hit parts of the country, and the country's hosting of the 30th Southeast Asian Games, to name a few.

Across income classes, the poorest Filipinos saw the biggest improvement in optimism. Some 91 percent belonging to class E said they are facing 2020 with hope, a 15-point pickup from a year ago. Among them, the number of people unsure about prospects next year also dropped to just 9 percent, according to the survey.

Christmas cheer

About half of Filipinos see the current holiday season as "more prosperous" for them, with the number slightly slipping to 48 percent this year from 49 percent in 2018.

Mindanaoans led the group which saw a more abundant celebration this December at 57 percent, followed by a seven-point lift among Metro Manila respondents to 48 percent.

These were offset by a 25-point drop in positive expectations in the Visayas to 38 percent, while the views of those in Luzon remained broadly steady. Half of Visayans see the 2019 Christmas celebration to be the same as last year, while a tenth say they are poorer this 2019.

Across income groups, 68 percent of those under class ABC said the holidays will be more prosperous this year, while only a third of the poorest residents see a better Christmas in 2019.

Nearly a fifth among the class E respondents said they are poorer during the holidays this year.

Central bank survey

In a separate survey, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported weaker consumer sentiment this quarter and for the coming year.

The central bank's Consumer Expectations Survey revealed a drop in consumer confidence to 1.3 percent from 4.6 percent in the third quarter, representing an increase in pessimists.

Respondents cited higher commodity prices, low or no increase in salaries, higher household expenses, and a high unemployment rate, which also led to weaker optimism for the coming year. Optimism for 2020 slipped to 26.4 percent, a drop from 29.8 percent tallied the previous quarter.

Meanwhile, the BSP said businesses grew more upbeat about prospects from October-December, riding on the holiday season for increased sales, better economic conditions, and the impact of the country's hosting of the SEA Games.

More companies also expect a better year ahead, with business confidence improving to 59.6 percent from 58.6 percent previously as they anticipate new projects, stronger consumer demand, and increased government spending for infrastructure.