Confidence downtrend echoes findings from official surveys
Manila - XINHUA
Business confidence in Philippine economy improved in the fourth quarter due to an expected increase in consumer demand and the roll out of big-ticket infrastructure projects during the period, the local central bank said Friday.
The latest Business Expectations Survey (BES) showed that the overall confidence index rose to 48.3 percent in the October to December period from a three-year low of 34.4 percent recorded in the third quarter.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Philippine central bank or BSP) said the improvement in sentiment was driven by a foreseen increase in consumer demand amid the holiday season and a sustained growth in orders and projects.
The roll out of the Philippine government's public-private partnership projects, stable inflation, low interest rates, continuous remittances and sustained foreign investment flows have also boosted the confidence of companies in the country's economy.
The BSP said the wholesale and retail trade sector was the most bullish this quarter, followed by the services sector.
Construction firms were also optimistic due to foreseen acceleration in activities for both public and private projects before the year ends. Industry firms, meanwhile, also had an upbeat outlook due to ongoing projects and orders.
For the first quarter of 2015, BSP said the confidence index slid to 43.1 percent due to the typical downturn in demand after the holiday season.
The latest BES was conducted from Oct. 1 to Nov. 13 and involved a total of 1,518 firms.