BSP: Business confidence up in first HALF, next 12 months

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BUSINESS confidence in the country is more upbeat for the first half of 2021 and the next 12 months, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said.

In its report, the central bank said the sentiment of business owners improved for the second consecutive quarter.

“The overall confidence index (CI) for the first and second quarters posted increases from previous quarter survey results, indicating greater optimism for many of the respondents,” the BSP said.

Specifically, the CI for the first quarter of 2021 increased to 17.4 percent from 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020 while the CI for the second quarter of 2021, rose to 42.8 percent from the previous quarter’s survey result of 37.4 percent.

The respondents’ optimism for the two quarters was attributed primarily to the easing of quarantine restrictions and reopening of businesses, observations that people are adapting to the “new normal,” increase in volume of sales and orders, the rollout of vaccines for Covid-19, and the development of new business/marketing strategies.

Respondents also cited expectations of higher demand for electricity and construction activities during summer for their more buoyant views for the second quarter of 2021.

Next 12 months

Similarly, the business outlook on the country’s economy for the next 12 months was more upbeat as the CI increased to 60.5 percent from the fourth quarter of 2020 survey result of 57.7 percent predominantly for the same reasons.

Notably, the next 12 months CI is the highest index recorded since the start of the 12-month outlook in the third quarter of 2019.

Sought for comment, Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said business confidence had been on a brighter mood and consistent upward positivity in the first two months of this year.

“The economy had slowly reopened, and the vaccine rollout in the United States (US) and the United Kingdom (UK) were doing better than expected. However, the sudden surge in cases in the National Capital Region plus last March put a damper on this soaring confidence. The ensuing lockdown erased all the gains that we made in the past months,” he said.

Yu said the only flicker of “hope” comes from the successful vaccine rollout and containment by model countries like Israel, the US and the UK. (JOB)