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BSP poll: More businesses grow optimistic

As part of efforts to help enforce strict health protocols to curb Covid-19 transmission while helping hasten recovery, Ayala Land Inc. has closed off for pedestrian use certain streets in the financial district in Makati City, this time to allow for al fresco dining, which experts deem less risky than air-conditioned eating places where the virus can easily thrive. (CONTRIBUTED PHOTO)

LOCAL businesses are growing more optimistic about economic opportunities in the country, as more and more firms adapt to the “new normal,” a recent survey by the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) showed.

In the BSP’s quarterly survey of business and consumer sentiment, the country’s central monetary authority reported on Thursday that the outlook of firms in the economy improved for the second consecutive quarter in January to March this year.

In particular, the overall confidence index (CI) for the first quarter of the year rose to 17.4 percent from 10.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2020. This is the second consecutive quarter that confidence in the business community grew based on the survey.

The confidence index is computed as the percentage of optimistic respondents minus the percentage of pessimistic respondents in the local economy. A higher confidence index means the optimists outweigh the pessimists during the survey period.

Local firms attributed their more upbeat outlook to easing of quarantine restrictions and reopening of businesses, observations that people are adapting to the new normal, and increase in volume of sales and orders.

Some also said the rollout of vaccines for Covid-19, and  the development of new business/marketing strategies are starting to work in their favor.

Respondents also cited expectations of higher demand for electricity and construction activities during summer for their more buoyant views for the second quarter of 2021.

Favorable sentiment prevailed across the different types of trading firms like exporter, importer, dual-activity, and domestic-oriented, but at varying degrees.

Importer, dual-activity, and domestic-oriented respondent firms were more confident in the business environment for the first quarter of 2021, while exporters were less optimistic.

The first quarter 2021 Business Expectations Survey (BES) was conducted during the period February 4 to March 12. There were 1,512 firms surveyed nationwide.

Samples were drawn from the Top 7,000 Corporations ranked based on total assets in 2016 from the Bureau van Dijk (BvD) database, consisting of 585 companies in the National Capital Region and 927 firms in areas outside NCR, covering all 16 regions nationwide.

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