By: Maricel E. Burgonio, InterAksyon.com November 22, 2013 6:19 PM
MANILA - The latest poll conducted among Philippine-based businesses show their outlook improved in the fourth quarter despite a string of natural calamities, the pork barrel scandal and the US government shutdown.
The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP), which conducts the quarterly Business Expectations Survey, however cautioned that the latest round of the poll didn't capture the sentiment of traders in areas devastated by Typhoon 'Yolanda'.
In a press briefing, BSP Deputy Governor Diwa C. Guinigundo said the overall confidence index rose to 52.3 percent in the fourth quarter from the 42.8 percent in the previous three-month period.
A positive figure means the optimists outnumber the pessimists, whereas a negative indicates otherwise.
“The impact of Typhoon Yolanda may not be fully accounted yet. Those who answered in November 8-11 were firms from the NCR," Guinigundo said, referring to the National Capital Region, which was spared the wrath of 'Yolanda'.
Survey respondents ascribed their optimistic outlook to the seasonal uptick in consumer demand during Christmas, the completion of rice harvest, increased orders and new product lines.
Also boosting sentiment were expectations of more construction projects that would come in the wake of the earthquake in Bohol.
“The favorable macroeconomic conditions in the country, particularly low inflation and interest rates, a strong peso, higher foreign investment inflows and the steady stream of overseas Filipinos’ remittances also boosted business confidence in the current quarter,” Guinigundo said.
For those who were not as optimistic, they blamed "their less sanguine outlook [on] the seasonal slack in demand after the holiday season and the political noise brought about by the pork barrel issue,” Guinigundo said.
The BSP conducted the fourth-quarter survey from October 11 to November 11, with 1,550 firms across the country participating.
Moving forward, respondents were less bullish about their first-quarter prospects, with the confidence index slipping to 40.7 percent from the record high of 60 percent during the previous survey.
“Uncertainties in the global economy, particularly emanating from the US as well as Euro markets contributed to respondents’ lower optimism,” Guinigundo said.