SWS: Trust ratings for China dip in 1Q 2017

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The Social Weather Stations said China scored a "neutral" net trust score of -4, thirteen points lower than in December 2016.

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, May 25) — Filipino net trust ratings for China took a 13-point dive in the first quarter of 2017, a private pollster reported.

According to the Social Weather Stations' (SWS)  First Quarter 2017 Social Weather Survey released Tuesday, China scored a "neutral" -4 net trust score among Filipinos in March 2017 compared to a "neutral" +9 in December 2016.

Of 1,200 Filipinos surveyed, 34 percent of Filipinos said they had "much trust" in China while 38 percent said they had "little trust" in it.

Last December 2016, 39 percent said they had "much trust" in China, while 30 said they had "little trust" in the Asian superpower.

China has only scored "positive" net trust ratings in 8 of 24 SWS surveys since August 1994.

It peaked with a "moderate" +17 in June 2010 and had an all-time low -46 in September 2015.

The decline in first quarter trust ratings came amid a maritime dispute between the Philippines and China.

The survey, which was conducted from March 25-28, was taken weeks after Chinese ships were reportedly spotted in resource-rich Philippine territory Behham Rise, and after reports surfaced that China planned to build structures in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in South China Sea.

The United States, meanwhile, retained a "very good" rating at +56, despite a three-point decline from +59 in December 2016.

SWS reported 70 percent of respondents had "much trust" in the U.S. while 13 percent had "little trust" in it.

Net trust in the U.S. has been consistently positive since the SWS first included it in the survey in December 1994.

However, the three-point decline came after a seven-point drop from September to December 2016, and is the lowest net trust rating for the U.S. in seven years, since it scored a +35 in March 2010.

Other countries which scored positive trust ratings from Filipinos were Japan, Australia, France and Russia.

Both Japan and Australia received "good" trust ratings, with Japan increasing five points to +42 and Australia moving up one point to a +38.

France, meanwhile, received a first-time positive net trust rating out of the four times it has been included in the survey since October 1995.

The European country scored a "moderate" net rating of +18, compared to its last rating of -1 in October 2000.

Russia retained a "neutral" rating of +6 in March 2017, despite being 3 points lower than its first-ever positive rating of +9 in December 2016.

President Rodrigo Duterte has sought closer relations with Russia with a 5-day official visit to Moscow on May 22, but this was cut short by clashes between military troops and the terror Maute group in Marawi City.

North Korea, which scored negative ratings in the five times it was included in the survey since March 2003, scored a "neutral" -5, up by two points from its -7 rating in December 2014.

This amid multiple missile launches by the isolated country in the past months.

The SWS parameters for net trust ratings are +70 and above for "excellent," +50 to +69 for "very good," +30 to +49 for "good," +10 to +29 for "moderate," +9 to -9 for "neutral," -10 to -29 for "poor," -30 to -49 for "bad," -50 to -69 for "very bad," and -70 and below for "execrable".

It has a sampling error margin of ±3 percent for national percentages, and ±6 percent each for Metro Manila, Balance Luzon, the Visayas, and Mindanao.