Saturday, 13 June 2009

New Philippine consumption pattern benefits PLDT—Pangilinan

Roderick T. dela Cruz
Manila Standard

The spending priorities of Filipinos are changing and one company said it is reaping financial benefits from the change, despite the impact of the global economic downturn.

Philippine Long Distance Telephone Co. chairman Manuel Pangilinan said while overall consumption expenditure grew just 0.8 percent year-on-year in the first quarter, spending in transportation and telecoms rose 4.1 percent.

In comparison, other sectors such as tobacco, beverages, clothing and footwear declined between 11 percent and 38.7 percent.

“This should mean that spending priorities may have changed. The consumer may postpone the purchase of clothes, reduce their drinking and smoking, but still spend on communication,” Pangilinan said.

“Texting has now become essential. As have chatting, blogging, e-mailing and social networking on the Internet,” he added.

Pangilinan said no country, including the Philippines, had been spared from the adverse effects of this crisis. “Yet despite these unfavorable macroeconomic trends, certain Philippine corporates, including PLDT, demonstrated positive performance last year, and in the first quarter of this year,” he said.

“The solid performance of PLDT and the increasing bias in consumer preferences towards our products and services, together provide some cheer to our prospects in this year 2009.”

Data from the national income accounts released by the National Statistical Coordination Board showed that the percentage share of food, transport and communication; household operations; fuel, light and water; and miscellaneous services in total household expenses rose in the first quarter of 2009 from a year ago.

The percentage share of beverages and tobacco; clothing and footwear, and household furnishings dipped in the same period.

Pangilinan also noted that the gross national product, which includes net factor income from abroad, actually grew 4.4 percent, ahead of the 0.4 percent growth of GDP.

“This means that more money has actually been placed in the hands of the Filipino consumer for the period, more than what the GDP numbers indicate,” he said.

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