Business and consumer confidence levels maintain upward trend
Business and consumer confidence levels continue to grow apace, reflecting an endorsement of government policies, according to the latest findings of the Surveys of Business and Consumer Confidence.
Consumer confidence for the first quarter of 2019 stood at 177.5 points in the first quarter of 2019, compared to the 175.5 points in the fourth quarter of 2018, while the business confidence index stood at 151.3 points, up from 147.5 in the fourth quarter of 2018.
“This represents a growing belief that the policies being pursued by the government are properly targeted and are being appropriately executed,” renowned pollster Don Anderson, said on Tuesday as he revealed the latest survey findings.
Consumers’ expectations for the observation of jobs is at the heart of this confidence (30 per cent). Consumers’ confidence is also driven by their views of the government initiatives (21 per cent) as well as their observation of the infrastructural changes they see around (21 per cent).
“It is clear that there has been a sameness to the findings, still with a high level of confidence amongst both consumers and businesses,” Anderson, the Managing Director of Market Reseach Services, the company that conducted the research.
He also noted that there was substantial growth in business confidence despite the stated anguish being experienced by businesses as a result of road works, crime, and the unstable dollar.
“Despite complaints about their inability to plan efficiently in the wake of a dollar that has moved between $135 and $129, businesses are still bullish on their plans to invest,” Anderson said.
According to the findings, firms’ willingness to invest in new plant and equipment recorded the highest in the history of the survey, soaring to 159 points, surpassing the record set in the fourth quarter 2018 (151 points). Over 70 per cent of all surveyed continued to agree that the time was right for expansion.
This intention is being shown in construction, followed by transportation and communication and finance- insurance services, and real estate, representing a marginal shift from agriculture over the last two years Anderson said.
Consumers’ assessment of the current business conditions remained stable at 110 points in the first quarter of 2019. While the incidence of anticipation for improvement remained unchanged it is still high at 41 per cent. But consumers’ overall expectation of business conditions over the next 12 months has resulted in an increase in the index from 125 points to 128 points.
The aim of the JCC Business & Consumer quarterly Indices survey is to provide businesses with the knowledge and information needed to make better-informed business decisions. The Index is derived from quarterly surveys of CEOs and senior officers of approximately 100 Jamaican firms and 600 households’ islandwide, on business and consumer opinions related to current conditions and future expectations of the economy.