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DUIHK sees improving economy, business climate

The annual gauge of investor confidence of the German-Hungarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce (DUIHK) rose from 21 points to a record 28 points in 2017, DUIHK Chairman Dale A. Martin said on Tuesday. Surveyed German companies in Hungary see an excellent economic environment and improving business prospects.

For the 24th occasion, the DUIHK surveyed its members and other foreign investors about how they view the economic situation and business climate in Hungary. The general assessment of the Hungarian economy was positive and encouraging, thanks to which an improving trend has been seen in terms of both investment and employment, a DUIHK press release cited Martin as saying.

The survey showed that companiesʼ willingness to make investments became stronger as did their hiring plans, with more than half of respondents planning to increase headcount and just 10% planning lay-offs, according to state news wire MTI.

About 43% of respondents said they plan to spend more on investments than in earlier years, while only 11% said they would spend less on developments. At the same time, respondents had negative views on the availability of qualified workforce in both Hungary and the region, Martin noted.

The survey showed that company managers have seen significant improvement in the areas of taxation and public administration. At the same time, assessments of the availability of qualified workforce deteriorated, as did views on legal security, corruption, and the transparency of public procurement. 

The commitment of German investors operating in Hungary strengthened, with 84% of respondents saying they would bring their investments here again if they had to make the decision now, a higher percentage than last year.

Martin acknowledged the dynamic economic growth seen in other countries of the region, noting that last year seven of the 11 EU member states of Eastern Europe recorded economic growth of higher than 4%, as the region far outstripped the average pace of growth among the Western member countries.

At the same time, the chairman noted that the current upbeat mood is largely attributable to a favorable external economic environment, and that this also carries certain risks for the future.

Since 2006, the same survey has been carried out by German chambers of commerce in 15 other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. Based on the international results, stated the DUIHK press release, it can be said that the opinions of companies in Hungary more or less correspond to the average in the region.

This year a total of 205 business leaders participated in the DUIHK questionnaire between February 1 and March 6. The report can be downloaded for free from the chamber website in its entirety in Hungarian here, and in German here.