More companies expressed confidence the economy will perform better in the coming months amid the continued return to pre-pandemic normalcy, according to the latest Business Expectations Survey conducted by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas.
The overall business confidence index rose sharply to 34 percent in the first quarter from 23.9 percent in the fourth quarter of 2022. This means that the percentage of optimists increased and outweighed the percentage of pessimists.
“For Q1 2023, the more upbeat outlook of respondents was attributed to expectations of higher consumer demand for products and services, full reopening of the economy and return to pre-pandemic normalcy as more COVID-19 restrictions are lifted, increased business activities and sustained economic recovery, and expansion and new business opportunities in healthcare, manufacturing and construction sub-sectors,” the BSP said.
The business sentiment for the second quarter of 2023 also turned more optimistic as the overall confidence index improved to 49 percent from 31.3 percent a quarter ago.
“With the full reopening of the economy due to the easing of pandemic restrictions, respondents’ more optimistic outlook for the next quarter was attributed primarily to expectations of higher volume of sales [such as food and beverages, electronic parts, computers and laptops, paint, garments, airline tickets, and loan products], improved business activities and operations and seasonal uptick in demand over the summer months,” the BSP said.
It said that for the next 12 months, business sentiment turned more buoyant as the overall confidence index increased to 61.9 percent from the previous quarter’s survey result of 46.2 percent.
“The respondents’ more buoyant business confidence for the next 12 months was also attributed to their optimism about higher demand/sales, a fully reopened economy, better business conditions and new business opportunities,” the BSP said.
The Q1 2023 Business Expectations Survey was conducted from Jan. 13 to March 6, 2023, involving 1,554 firms surveyed nationwide, consisting of 582 companies in the National Capital Region and 972 firms in the provinces.