AFTER posting three consecutive quarters of optimistic business sentiment, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) said the economic outlook of pandemic-weary business owners for the third quarter of 2021 turned pessimistic.
The central bank said the overall confidence index (CI) declined to -5.6 percent in the third quarter of 2021 from 1.4 percent in the second quarter of 2021.
The respondents’ pessimism was traced to the ongoing coronavirus disease 2019 (Covid-19) pandemic and its protracted adverse effects on businesses, re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine particularly in the National Capital Region, decrease in sales and income, concerns over government policies such as those aimed at curbing transmission, and higher prices of raw materials such as steel, wood liner, glue and other commodities.
The negative index resulted from a decrease in the number of optimists and an increase in the pessimists.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said there was a general slowdown in consumption in the third quarter.
“Even though we are already in general community quarantine this month, many businesses have not reopened,” he told SunStar Cebu.
Yu said they were expecting some businesses to reopen by the fourth quarter to cash in on the holiday season.
“Our prognosis is that there will be uptick in the fourth quarter due to the holiday season but it will be muted. The lost productivity and income of the prior months cannot be recovered anymore, we will just move forward with resilience and cost cautiousness,” he said.
When the last surge in Covid-19 cases happened, Yu said they already indicated that not all businesses can reopen immediately.
It will have a ramping up stage, and businesses are pandemic-weary already, he said.
Yu said they cannot also blame the government because they need to manage the health situation.
“We just have to accept and innovate from here. It’s a continuous learning process,” he said.
Rey Calooy, chairman of the Filipino Cebuano Business Club, said both businesses and consumers have apprehensions on opening and buying, respectively.
“Even if the government will say that there will only be granular lockdowns, people will already take caution so for businesses, they would rather lie low than spend money for a costly reopening,” he said.
This also goes the same for consumers who would only spend for essentials.
But like most business owners, Calooy remained optimistic for growth because of the Christmas season. (JOB)