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Businesses less optimistic in Q1 — BSP

The business sector turned less optimistic about the Philippine economy in the first quarter of 2022, results of the latest survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed Friday.

The first quarter Business Expectations Survey (BES) showed that the overall confidence index (CI) of the private sector decreased to 32.9% from 39.7% in the last quarter of 2021.

The CI is the percentage of firms that answered in the affirmative, minus the percentage of firms that answered in the negative with respect to their views on a given indicator.

“The lower positive index resulted from the combined effects of a decrease in the percentage of optimists and an increase in the percentage of pessimists,” the BSP said.

Conducted from January 21 to March 4, 2022, the poll covered 1,498 firms nationwide, consisting of 578 companies in the National Capital Region and 920 firms in areas outside Metro Manila.

“The respondents’ less buoyant outlook was largely affected by the resurgence of [COVID-19] cases from the new Omicron variant and the consequent reimposition of stricter quarantine restrictions in many areas at the beginning of the year,” the BSP said.

Other factors that contributed to the weaker business confidence for the first quarter of 2022 are as follows:

  • increase in prices of raw materials and fuel
  • decrease in sales/demand for certain goods and services such as motor vehicles, education services, and construction
  • weakening peso
  • adverse impact of natural calamities such as Typhoon Odette in December 2021

For the next quarter, business sentiment turned more optimistic as the overall CI increased to 59.7%, up from 52.8% a quarter ago.

“For the next 12 months, business sentiment was also more optimistic as the overall CI increased to 69.8 percent from the previous quarter’s survey result of 67.6%,” the BSP said.

“This is the highest reported CI for the next 12 months since the BES started to collect outlook for the next 12 months in the third quarter of 2019,” it added. — VBL, GMA News