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Consumer, business confidence continues to improve in April

GKI's combined business and consumer confidence index rose to -17.2 points in April from -18.6 points in the previous month, the economic think tank said.

The index, prepared with European Union support, shows the measure of business confidence rose to -10.2 points from -10.7 points, while the consumer confidence index climbed to -37.0 points from -41.2 points, its highest level since May 2006.

 Only slightly more companies said the outlook for Hungary's economy had deteriorated than those who said it had improved. Households said the state of the country's economy had improved significantly.

 The consumer confidence index bottomed out in April 2009 and has improved much since. But the measure is still not as high as in earlier election years, GKI said. Households' outlook for their own financial positions improved, but the number who thought they could make savings in the near future was unchanged.

 While improving sentiment in the industrial sector was the only thing to lift GKI's business confidence index in March, expectations in the sector deteriorated slightly in April. Confidence improved in other sectors. Confidence in the industrial sector fell for only the second time in a year as the outlook for production was little changed and the assessment of order stock, including export orders, as well as of inventories worsened. Industrial companies' assessment of output in the past months improved.

 In the construction sector, assessments of output and order stock improved slightly, but overall confidence in the sector still remained well under levels before the crisis.

 Confidence among wholesalers and retailers jumped in April after rising steadily in the previous three months to reach levels before the crisis. Sales positions improved markedly as did the outlook for orders. More companies said inventories were at average levels for the time of year.

 Sentiment in the service sector improved sharply and nearly reached pre-crisis levels. Outlook for sales in the near future improved the most.

 Fewer companies planned to make new hires in the industrial and trade sectors, but more planned to raise headcount in the service sector. Fewer households were afraid of losing their jobs.

Industrial companies expect rising prices in the coming three months. In the construction sector, more companies see prices falling than expect them to rise, although slightly more companies see prices rising than falling in the civil engineering segment. Slightly more trade companies expect prices to rise, but fewer households expect inflation to accelerate. (MTI – Econews)