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BSP: Households saving more and spending less

More Filipino households saved money in the fourth quarter this year compared to a quarter ago, results of a survey conducted by Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas show.

The percentage of households with savings increased slightly to 32.8 percent from 32.5 percent in the previous quarter, the Consumer Expectations Survey for the fourth quarter show.

According to respondents, they saved money for emergencies, health and hospitalization, education, retirement, purchase of real estate and business capital and investments.

Among households with savings, more than two-thirds or 68 percent had bank deposit accounts in the fourth quarter, up from 66.2 percent a quarter ago.

Moreover, 46.2 percent kept their savings at home, while 26.5 percent put their money in cooperatives, paluwagan, other credit/loan associations, and as investments.

The percentage of respondents who reported they could set aside money for savings during the current quarter rose to 40.2 percent from 37.3 percent a quarter ago.

Both business and consumer confidence outlooks posted lower readings in the fourth quarter this year, driven mainly by higher inflation.

“The results of these two surveys are the results of many factors coming together,” Bangko Sentral Deputy Governor Diwa Guinigundo said in a briefing.

The business outlook on the economy turned less optimistic, with the overall confidence index dropping to 27.2 percent from 30.1 percent a quarter ago, the lowest level since the first quarter  of 2010.

The survey said despite the expected uptick in demand during the holiday season, the business outlook was less buoyant due to higher inflation driven by rising raw material costs and global oil prices, weaker peso, higher interest rates, decrease in volume of sales and orders and lack of supply of raw materials.

The inflation peaked to a nine-year high of 6.7 percent in October before easing to 6 percent in November.

For the next quarter, respondents expect less bullish business conditions to continue as the index remained positive but lower at 29.4 percent from 42.6 percent in the previous quarter. This is the lowest next-quarter reading since third quarter of 2009.

Respondents attributed their weaker outlook for the next quarter to the usual slowdown in demand after the holiday season. Their sentiments were also tempered by expectations of a peso depreciation that increases the costs of imports as well ad higher inflation and interest rates.

On the other hand, the consumer confidence index in the fourth quarter declined to -22.5 percent from -7.1 percent a quarter ago. This was the lowest reading since the fourth quarter of 2014 and posted the largest drop by 15.4 percentage points since the nationwide survey started in first quarter 2007.

Respondents cited as reasons for the decline in confidence index to higher prices of commodities, low salary and income, increase in household expenses, no increase in income, and upsurge in the number of unemployed persons.

Topics: Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas , Consumer Expectations Survey , Diwa Guinigundo , Economy
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