MBC Survey Finds Businessmen Bullish

MANILA, Philippines - Majority of businessmen believes the domestic economy will grow better this year than the 3.7 percent gross domestic product recorded in 2011, a survey conducted by the Makati Business Club (MBC) showed.

The MBC Executive Outlook Survey was conducted from February 14 to 19 this year wherein 93 members or 12 percent of out of 734 total MBC membership responded to the survey.

"Despite the positive tone, there is still a need for a watchful eye in light of the developments in the EU and the Middle East as we live in a volatile world," said MBC chairman Ramon R. Del Rosario Jr., chairman, who unveiled the results of the survey.

Based on the survey, as much as 79.6 percent of senior business executives believe the economy will perform better this year than last year, a much improved number than the 44.8 percent in February 2011.

A minority of 17.2 percent said the economy will perform the same as last year and only 3.2 percent said the economy this year would be worse than last year.

In terms of investments, a vast majority of 81.7 percent believe that approved investments would be higher this year compared to 76.1 percent in February last year. There were only 11.8 percent of businessmen who feel the same level of investment inflow as last year's and only 5.4 percent believe investments would be lower than last year.

The business community, however, remains pessimistic about exports as only 33.3 percent believe exports to grow higher. The figure was almost double than than last year's 67.2 percent respondents, who said exports would grow higher than 2010.

But, more businessmen or 40.9 percent of those surveyed said exports would perform the same level as that of last year while 20.4 percent said they feel exports would be lower this year than 2011.

Business sentiment on exports was dampened by the 6.9 percent drop in merchandize exports to $48 billion in 2011.

Despite the exports outlook, the business community is in a hiring mode.

The survey showed that 61.3 percent said they will hire more people this year compared to only 37.3 percent in February 2011. Conversely, the proportion of respondents' firms who will maintain the number of their employes at present levels has gone down to close to 25.8 percent from 35.8 percent a year ago.

However, none of last year's respondents reported that their companies had plans to lay off workers, 2.2 percent of this year's respondents indicated their companies have plans to downsize their labor force.

With more companies on the hiring mode, businesses are also making additional investments this year.

The survey showed that that 63.4 percent of respondents are investing more this year than the 56.7 percent in last year's survey with average amount of investment of P1.667 billion as against P1.241 billion last year.

The senior executives surveyed this year were also asked to estimate their company's expected level of gross revenues for 2012. (BCM)

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