Consumers optimistic about their financial situation
In April, research institute GKI’s Economic Sentiment Index remained slightly lower than its historic peak in February. According to the empirical survey conducted by GKI with the support of the EU, expectations deteriorated in the business sector within the statistical margin of error, whereas they continued to rise among consumers.
The combined Economic Sentiment Index inched up to 8.8 points in April, from 8.6 points in the previous month. The standalone business confidence index slipped slightly from 13.6 points to 13.3 points, while the consumer confidence index rose for the fifth month in a row, from -5.8 points to -3.9 points, albeit still remaining below its peak reached in 2002.
In the business sector, expectations in construction and especially in services improved, whereas industrial and trade confidence indices fell, although they still reflect a great deal of optimism. The industrial confidence index dropped to its lowest point in the last five months in April, GKI said.
The assessment of production in the preceding period, the stock of orders (including exports) and inventories deteriorated as well. Only production prospects improved. In construction, the confidence index increased slightly in April after a two-month drop.
The trade confidence index fell back to its September 2017 level in April. Although the assessment of sales positions and the stock of orders became worse, that of inventories picked up.
In April, the services confidence index regained its historic peak registered in January. This was mainly due to favorable opinions of the general business climate as sales expectations stagnated.
The willingness to employ strengthened in all sectors, mainly in trade and least among service companies. The main obstacle to growth continues to be labor shortages: half of companies surveyed in construction and one third in industry and services mentioned this problem. At the same time, the fear of unemployment among households has never been as low as it is this April.
Consumersʼ were more optimistic about their financial position and their ability to make savings. Slightly fewer expected to make big-ticket purchases.
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