Consumers becoming less pessimistic

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Residents step on measured tape placed outside a supermarket to practice social distancing as a precautionary measure against the spread of the new coronavirus in Manila, Philippines, early Tuesday, March 17, 2020. For most people, the new coronavirus causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness, especially in older adults and people with existing health problems. (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Consumers have a less pessimistic outlook towards the last quarter of the year based on the country’s overall Consumer Outlook Index, Presidential Spokesperson Secretary Harry Roque Jr announced during Monday’s virtual press briefing.

Roque said the confidence index improved to –47.9 percent this quarter from the –54.5 percent in the third quarter, both for this year, citing the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.

According to the respondents, their improved outlook this quarter was brought about by their expectations of availability of more jobs and permanent employment; additional and high income; effective government policies and programs such as the Social Amelioration Program (SAP) and the Plant Plant Plant Program; less community restrictions, reopening of businesses; and an end to the coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic.

Roque said the first quarter of 2021 could see a 4.3-percent confidence index.

Ang positibong pagtingin sa unang bahagi ng taon ay dala ng inaasahan na mas maraming trabaho, mas mataas na kita, pagwawakas ng pandemya at pagkakaroon ng bakuna laban sa virus at muling pagbubukas ng mga negosyo (This positive  outlook in the first quarter of the year is attributed to public anticipation for more available jobs, additional and high incomes, the end of the  pandemic, the availability of the vaccine against the virus, and more reopenings of businesses),” Roque said.

He added that the confidence index for the next 12 months is at 23.6 percent.

Meanwhile, business confidence in the economy improved from -5.3 percent in the third quarter to 10.6 percent in the fourth   quarter for the overall confidence index.  The business industry’s confidence is expected to continue until the first  quarter of  next year and is expected to increase  to 37.4 percent, while business outlook for the next 12 months is at 57.7 percent. CURRENTPH

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