SWS data shows economic optimism survey doesn’t contradict BSP’s prior studies
MANILA, Philippines — After the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) disputed the Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey results on low economic optimism among Filipinos, the private research firm released a graph to compare the survey results in the past.
And according to the line graph, SWS and BSP’s own survey on economic optimism did not vary much, until now.
According to a special report released by SWS on Friday, its own economic optimism survey which it initiated back in September 1998 agrees with the BSP’s version which started under the Arroyo administration, as only small discrepancies were observed.
“Since September 1998, the [SWS] surveys have asked Filipino adults about their evaluation of the Philippine Economy in the coming 12 months. The difference between the proportions of Optimists (those who answered “Will be better”) and Pessimists (“Will be worse”) gives what SWS calls the Net Economic Optimism score,” SWS said.
“A similar question is used by the [BSP] in its quarterly Consumer Expectations Survey (CES). Like SWS, BSP’s Consumer Outlook Index on the Economic Condition in the next 12 months is a net figure, computed by subtracting the % who gave a “negative” response from the % who gave an “affirmative” response,” SWS added.
SWS’s clarification came after BSP Governor Benjamin Diokno expressed disbelief at the research firm’s findings that two in five Filipinos or 40 percent of adults believe that the Philippine economy would be worse in the next 12 months due to the COVID-19 pandemic — worst numbers since 2008’s global financial crisis.
Economic pessimism was largely due to the economy’s stagnation during the lockdown periods, with some industries being forced to close shop or layoff employees.
In the line graph from SWS, it can be seen that SWS surveys even yielded a higher net optimism score on its December 2019 survey than BSP’s January 2020 Expectations survey.
Net optimism score is the economic optimism rate and economic pessimism rate combined.
According to Diokno, the country is currently in better shape than it was three months ago when the economy suffered massively due to lockdowns that were meant to prevent coronavirus transmissions.
He also claimed that SWS is doing surveys on a limited scope, which may yield limited information.
“We’re in better shape now than we were three months ago. Based on available information, I truly believe that the worst is behind us,” Diokno told reporters.
“Repeat: the SWS survey is based on the perception by a limited number of adults with limited information,” he added.
But SWS released other numbers showing that the survey results of both camps only have a small range in between. For example, the +44 net optimism score garnered by SWS for September 2016 did not deviate much from BSP’s +42 data in October 2016.
For more recent figures, SWS surveys revealed a +28 score in September 2019, while BSP released a +27 score a month after. [ac]
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