Philippines: Consumer confidence at all-time high in Q2

MANILA, Philippines – Filipino consumers are more optimistic, with the confidence index soaring to a record high in the second quarter, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported yesterday. 

Rosabel Guerrero, director at the BSP’s Department of Economic Statistics (DES), said results of the second quarter Consumer Expectation Survey (CES) showed the consumer confidence index (CI) hitting an all-time high of 13.1 percent in the second quarter from 8.7 percent in the first quarter.

Guerrero said in a press conference this was the first time the confidence index hit double-digit level as it surpassed the previous record of 9.2 percent booked in the fourth quarter of last year.

“This is the fourth consecutive quarter that consumer confidence registered positive reading, indicating that the number of households with optimistic views increased and continued to be greater than those with pessimistic views,” she said.

Respondents of the survey cited additional family income due to higher salary and stronger business activity as well as the availability of more jobs and increase in the number of employed family members, Guerrero said.

Guerrero said the more positive outlook of respondents was also boosted by the assistance from the government such as the Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino program as well as the increase in the pension of retirees.

The respondents also cited the expected increase in remittances from overseas Filipinos as well as the anticipated good harvest.

The confidence index has  been in negative territory since the CES was launched in the first quarter of 2007 until it turned positive at 2.5 percent in the third quarter of last year.

The survey measures consumer confidence via indicators including economic condition, family financial situation, and family income.

The all-time high confidence index was recorded despite the lower gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 6.4 percent booked in the first quarter from 6.6 percent in the fourth quarter of last year.

For the next quarter, Guerrero said consumer sentiment turned less optimistic as the confidence index declined to 13.6 percent from 16.5 percent in the previous quarter’s survey.

She explained the less favorable outlook for the third quarter stemmed from the increase in the prices of goods, expectations of higher expenses for their children’s education as well as lower or no increase in income.

Guerrero also downplayed the impact of the declaration of martial law in Mindanao through Proclamation No. 216 issued by President Duterte last May 23 on the results of the CES for the third quarter.

The survey for the second quarter was conducted between April 1 and 12 or prior to the terrorist attacks in Marawi City.

“It could but not that much because the conflict is quite contained. Although that could affect the perception of respondents in Marawi and in the nearby areas but I guess the impact would not be that significant as to affect the positive outlook of consumers,” she said.