Tuesday, 25 October 2022 18:22

Business and consumer confidence rises in third quarter

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Business and consumer confidence increased in the third quarter of 2022 as the Jamaican economy continues to show signs of recovery.
 Data released Tuesday show that business confidence went up 18.3 per cent, while consumer confidence rose 4.2 per cent when compared with the same quarter last year.
Twenty-five per cent of businesses surveyed expect higher than projected profits, while nearly 66 per cent believe it is a good time for expansion.  
Pollster Don Anderson said 55 per cent of businesses believe the economy will improve. The majority of these businesses say they are simply optimistic, while others based their decision on the expected rebound in the tourism sector - the benefits of which they believe will trickle down to their different businesses. 
However, Mr. Anderson noted that 13 per cent of businesses hold the view that economic conditions will worsen. 
Crime was the number one factor for businesses that held this view.
"They don’t think that the economy will improve that quickly so they expect slow growth, slow change, and this has to be noted. So they believe that things will move along but it will not improve enough to make a positive enough change in the short run," Mr. Anderson added. 
Another factor for businesses that did not expect economic conditions to improve is the instability or fluctuation of the foreign exchange, which they say inhibits their ability to plan efficiently. 
The businesses are also worried about continued price increases, which impacts them and ultimately their consumers. 
Consumer confidence 
At the same time, 34 per cent of consumers surveyed are expecting economic conditions to improve within the next 12 months. 
Mr. Anderson said most consumers who held this view recognise that the economy and businesses are opening up. The second highest response in this category are persons who say although they are not yet feeling the positive effects and their purchase intentions are still constrained, they are hoping things will improve. 
Others are expecting better conditions because they say the economy is improving.
According to Mr. Anderson, a fourth reason given is that the COVID-19 threat has reduced and people are seeing things return to normal, while others "have some trust about what is happening around them in terms of government policies, et cetera".
However, 23 per cent of consumers have a dim outlook of the country's economy. 
Among their reasons, they believe the government is not doing enough to positively impact the economy and they lack job opportunities. 
Mr. Anderson presented the findings of the quarterly Jamaica Conference Board Survey of Business and Consumer Confidence during a webinar Tuesday morning.