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Confidence index rises for fourth month in a row

GKI's combined consumer-business confidence index, compiled with the support of European Union funding, rose for the fourth month in a row in August, climbing to -32.4 points from -35.2 points in July.

The business confidence index improved to -22.8 points in August from -25.4 points in July. Sentiment improved in all sectors, with confidence up in the industrial sector for the fifth month in a row.

Companies' assessment of output in the past three months improved, as did their outlook for production in the coming three months. Their assessment of stock of orders was little changed, though the picture for export orders worsened slightly. More companies planned to make new hires, but they were still well outnumbered by those planning layoffs. Stocks were lower.

Confidence in the construction sector was the lowest among all of the sectors, in spite of improving for the third month in a row. The assessment of output over the past three months improved slightly, but companies were more pessimistic about stock of orders. More companies planned new hires.

Confidence in the trade sector improved in August to reach a level slightly over that in November. Sales positions improved and stocks dropped, but no more companies planned new hires.

In the service sector, sentiment improved slightly as the outlook for the coming three months brightened, but companies' assessment of their current position worsened.

More companies planned to lower prices than raise them in the industrial, construction and service sectors. In the trade sector, more companies planned to raise prices.

The consumer confidence index rose 3.3 percentage points to 59.8 points, improving for the fourth month in a row. Inflationary expectations increased. The outlook for employment and for making savings improved slightly, and the outlook for the economy and households' own financial positions improved markedly. (MTI-ECONEWS)