While waiting for new data
Events of November have made many people impatient for fresh data on public opinion. How can one cope in between the regular quarterly rounds of the Social Weather Survey?
The Philippine Stock Exchange Index (PSEI). This is issued every weekday. It is a guide to the thinking of stock market players, not of the general public, most of whom don’t even know what a stock market is.
The PSEI, which is in effect the price of a representative basket of the most traded stocks, was 6,833 at the start of the year (1/4/16). After the May elections, it hit 7,500 (6/1/16). Then it was over 8,000 on most days from 7/15 to 8/10.
But by 8/11 it had retreated to the 7,000s, and by 11/11 it was back in the 6,000s. By last Thursday it was at 6,865, and had lost all the gains of 2016. I don’t know if it is normal for an election year stock market boost to dissipate by December.
The Business Expectations Survey (BES). The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas recently reported (11/25/16), “Business confidence declines for Q4 2016 and Q1 2017,” based on its own quarterly national survey of business. The new BES involved 1,470 top corporations, surveyed from 10/3 to 11/17.
Every BES produces Confidence Indexes (CI) about the economy in the present quarter and in the next quarter. Since a CI is “the percentage of firms that answered in the affirmative less the percentage that answered in the negative,” it measures net confidence, in the same way that SWS measures net satisfaction with a public official.
The CI for the present quarter (2016Q4) is 39.8, versus 45.4 in 2016Q3. The last time it was below 40 was 2014Q3, over two years ago.
The CI for the next quarter (expected 2017Q1) is 34.5, very much less than the previously expected 56.8 of 2016Q4. The last time it was below 40 was the expectation for 2011Q4, five years ago. This cannot be considered good news.
Continuation of the Third Quarter Social Weather Survey reports. Meanwhile, SWS is completing the reports from its survey of Sept. 24-27, 2016. Every round generates up to a dozen reports, released in the course of the quarter.
The first two reports from 2016Q3, both issued on 10/10/16, were on the rating of President Duterte’s performance, and on the satisfaction with his campaign against illegal drugs, including the preference that drug suspects be apprehended alive.
Last week (11/26/16), SWS reported that, in the third quarter: 1) the net gainers in personal quality of life in the past 12 months was at a new record Very High +19; 2) the net optimism about personal quality of life in the next 12 months was a Very High +43, just below the +46 of 2016Q2; and 3) net optimism about the economy was also a Very High +44, but much less than the +56 of 2016Q2. These categories are based on the distribution of optimism scores in the SWS archive.
The net optimism of Filipinos has been High or else Very High for several years (see “Six optimistic years,” Opinion, 1/2/16).
The term “net” means that pessimists and losers have been subtracted from optimists and gainers, respectively.
At least three more reports are forthcoming from the 2016Q3 SWS survey: on joblessness, on victimization by common crimes, and the perceived safety of the home and neighborhood streets (including presence of drug addicts), and on satisfaction with the working of democracy.
The 2016Q4 Social Weather Survey is ongoing. We hope to issue its first media release before Christmas. Others will follow in due course.
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