"PANDEMIC-weary" businesses turned pessimistic during the third quarter of 2021 after three consecutive quarters of optimistic sentiment, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) reported.
The BSP said the outlook of business owners on the economy turned pessimistic as 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 attributed to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and its protracted adverse effects to their businesses; re-imposition of enhanced community quarantine particularly in the National Capital Region; decrease in sales, orders, and income; concerns over government policies, particularly the actions to curb the spread of Covid-19 and its Delta variant; and the higher prices of raw materials, i.e., steel, wood liner, glue, and other commodities.
The negative index resulted from the combined effects of decrease in the percentage of optimists and the increase in the percentage of pessimists.
Mandaue Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Steven Yu said there was a general slowdown in consumption for the third quarter, including September, which showed the weakness of the purchasing power.
"Even though we are already in general community quarantine this month, many businesses have not reopened," he told SunStar Cebu.
Yu said they are expecting some businesses to reopen by 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 happened, Yu said they already indicated that not all businesses can reopen immediately once closed.
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 in case another community status is in place," he said.
This also goes the same for consumers who would only spend for essentials rather than other products.
But like most business owners, Calooy remained optimistic for economic activity to at least drive a slight growth due to the Christmas season. (JOB)