PH businesses in negative mood for first time since 2009

Confidence among Philippine businessmen plunged into negative territory for the first time since 2009, a quarterly poll showed as the coronavirus pandemic continues to wreak havoc on businesses, disrupting manufacturing and supply chains.

By Eileen Mencias

The central bank’s latest Consumer Expectations Survey showed overall confidence falling to negative 5.3 in the third quarter from 22.3.

Business confident has been dragged down by declining orders and sales, slowdown and temporary shutdown in operations as well as concerns on government policies.

The survey was conducted from July 8 to September 10 with 1,517 respondents from the top 7,000 corporations.

The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas expects business sentiment to remain weak in the fourth quarter.

Pessimism pervades across all trading firms, with importers and domestic-oriented firms being the most pessimistic. The services, wholesale and retail trade sectors also turned pessimistic.

According to the BSP, companies across sectors anticipate a weaker volume of business activity and volume of total orders booked.

Even the employment outlook turned negative for the fourth quarter and the next 12 months, suggesting lay offs.

Many see a tightening in credit access, with the credit access index dropping to -15.5% and the sentiment on financial conditions falling to -47%, the lowest levels since the survey was started in the fourth quarter of 2006. (Eileen Mencias)

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