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Ecostat TOP-100 confidence index unchanged in Q1

Consumer and business sentiment improved further in the first quarter of 2006, continuing a trend started in Q2 2005 to reach the highest level in two years, according to the latest consumer-business confidence index by Ecostat, the research arm of the Central Statistics Office (KSH), published on Thursday.

The combined consumer and business confidence index measured 50.2 in Q1 2006. Ecostat's TOP-100 index, a measure of confidence at Hungary's hundred biggest companies, increased almost 2 points from the previous quarter to 53.7 in Q1. About 90% of managers at the top hundred companies assessed their situation as stable or improving, and 47% said they expected to expand capacities. About 65% of respondents said domestic demand would remain unchanged, and 20% said it would grow; 41% their domestic sales would increase and 59% said they would stagnate. About 62% of respondents said their companies were considering big investments in March, the same as in February.