PH economy still down in Q3, but tamer slump seen – poll

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(FILE PHOTO)

Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, November 6) — The Philippine economy may have sustained its slump in the third quarter although at a shallower plunge as more industries reopened, according to a CNN Philippines poll.

Nine market watchers tapped for this poll yielded a narrow 7.5-10.6% range for the projected contraction for the third quarter. This resulted in a -9.04% average, better than the 16.5% nosedive in the second quarter.

This signals that the worst is likely over for the economy, which has suffered deep scars due to the global COVID-19 crisis.

July saw more industries reopen –– a milestone partly undone when Metro Manila was placed under another two-week lockdown in August to stave off a surge in infections. The country's biggest business hub returned to general community quarantine status, the second most relaxed category, which has been sustained as of November.

"The third quarter was much better in terms of household spending with the easing of restrictions," said Mitzie Irene Conchada, associate dean of the De La Salle University School of Economics, pegging a 7.5% decline.

"More and more micro and small business are starting to open up, gradually and with care. But online retail remains to be strong," she added.

Malls, restaurants, and even staycations have been allowed to accept customers during the period as government wanted to revive revenues for hard hit sectors. International travel remained restricted, while local travel has been constrained.

ANZ Research said economic output in the third quarter picked up by 10% versus April-June but fell by 10.2% from a year ago. Emilio Neri, Jr., lead economist at the Bank of the Philippine Islands, gave a -9.6% projection –– a "big improvement" as more people found jobs and additional locally-made products were produced and sold abroad.

However, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas has reported that consumer confidence tanked, with the bleak outlook seen to stay for the rest of the year.

READ: Pandemic may keep more Filipinos poor, jobless until next year

BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno said Thursday that he does not expect growth until 2021, while full recovery to pre-pandemic expansion will not happen until 2022.

"We project a gradual recovery henceforth as some sectors still remain challenged, and business and consumer confidence still remain largely down plus tourism is unlikely to revive anytime soon," Security Bank economist Robert Dan Roces said.

The government sees the economy shrinking by 5.5% for 2020, but analysts pegged the full-year figure at -8%.

The Philippine Statistics Authority will report third-quarter gross domestic product data on November 10.

RELATED: Recovery from huge economic losses due to pandemic will take years, ADB says

FORECASTS: 

Mitzie Conchada, DLSU:  -7.5%

Robert Dan Roces, Security Bank: -8%

Victor Abola, UA&P: -8%

Jonathan Ravelas, BDO: -8.7%

Michael Ricafort, RCBC: -9%

Emilio Neri, Jr., BPI: -9.6%

Euben Paracuelles, Nomura: -9.8%

Raymond Yeung, ANZ: -10.2%

Ruben Carlo Asuncion, UnionBank: -10.6%