No change

Published November 19, 2021, 6:37 AM

by Fil C. Sionil

There’ll be no change.

I’m not referring to the key interest rate policy of the Bangko sentral ng Pilipinas, which as expected was kept unchanged yesterday, but on the growth assumption for this year with the spirited activities in various sectors of the economy.

Market players and analysts are back on their drawing board trying to track the economic direction for the remainder of the year based on their 2022 forecasts.  Economist and Monetary Board member Felipe Medalla believes “there is no reason to revise.”

The GDP target remains explained MBM Medalla considering the range of between 4.0 percent to 5.0 percent is on the optimistic side.

MBM Medalla explained that the GDP target should remain considering that the range of 4.0 percent to 5.0 percent is already on the optimistic side. He sits in the inter-agency Development Budget Coordinating Council. In August, the council downgraded the growth assumptions, which originally placed them between 6.0 percent and 7.0 percent.

Yes, consumer spending is back and is on the rise. This could be equated to rebounding domestic activities. For planning purposes, the nagging question is: will this merit an upward revision in the government’s gross domestic product (GDP) forecast for the year, given that the economy has emerged from COVID-19- induced recession as we run up to the Christmas season. Likewise, there’s a significant uptick in election-related spending with candidates doing their rounds nationwide.

On the consumer side, they’re on the revenge as they go out to dine and shop. These are two of the leading activities in the bucket list we all yearn to do after almost 20 months of involuntary confinement due to the pandemic. Count me among “revengers” on both activities. I love shopping but I’m no rogue super shopper similar to the “Revengers” of the marvel comic, a group of superheroes who became disillusioned with the Avengers. And, of course, I love to dine out, to have a feel of holding the menu and being served.

Though I’m fully vaccinated, the paranoia of getting infected is always prevailed. I’m literally green with envy knowing that most of my acquaintances have dared not only to go out of their abode to dine but travel, which I yearn to do after virtually being incarcerated by working from home. I thought I was an oddity but was a bit delighted to know that I share this burning fear with a number of my friends, including a former business journalist colleague, now one of the topnotch public relations specialists Ron Jabal.  For most part of this pandemic-induced house arrest, we both became obedient citizens, staying home only to go out if the need arises and only in places where there are few people. 

This week, though, I allowed myself some slack, mustered enough courage to leave my comfort zone to venture around town. I felt like a greenhorn when I stepped inside Rustan’s. It was a bit discomforting. I feel like a newbie in a place I was so familiar with pre-virus. Pre-pandemic, Rustan’s used to be my starting point for a thrice a week walking exercise. The tube that connects to the other malls, Glorietta-SM-LandMark is so convenient to reach the Greenbelt area.

As a matter of habit, I ended up in Greenbelt. The atmosphere was festive although the décor was less appealing and alluring. Nevertheless, I observed that commerce is back. The number of customers dining out is a testament.

With the wheels of commerce continuing to churn, still for MBM Medalla, there is no need to upgrade the GDP numbers. No change.

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