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GKI business-consumer confidence index plumbs new depths

Economic research institute GKI's combined Hungarian business-consumer confidence index fell for the sixth month in a row in March and reached a new historical low of minus 46.1 points.

The index, which is supported with EU funding, dropped from minus 43 points in February.

The business confidence index fell to minus 37.7 points from minus 34 points as pessimism grew in all sectors.

In the industrial sector, the assessment of stock of orders worsened the most, though the evaluation of the past quarter and the outlook for the coming quarter were also dimmer. Views were unchanged on stocks and changes to staff numbers. Most companies said they were likely to cut back on investments this year.

In the building sector, the assessment of production over the past three months was unchanged. But companies saw their stock of orders and headcount in a worse light.

In the trade sector, sentiment continued to worsen as it did in February, following a slight uptick in January. Companies said their sales positions' were worse, though their outlook for stock of orders was unchanged.

Service sector companies' expectations of turnover in the near future worsened significantly. Propensity to hire fell slightly.

Industrial companies expect prices to fall slightly in the next three months. Most building and service companies also expect to lower prices. Trade companies see their prices rising slightly over the coming three months.

The outlook for the Hungarian economy improved slightly in the industrial and service sectors, but worsened in the building and trade sectors.

The consumer confidence index fell to minus 70 points in March from minus 68.5 points in February.

Households' inflationary expectations grew slowly, but continuously, as they have from the start of the year, and the outlook for the economy as a whole worsened.

Consumers' outlook for their own financial situations over the coming twelve months fell the most in March, but fewer said they would be able to save in the short-term too. More consumers feared unemployment. Fewer said they planned to make a big-ticket purchase in the next twelve years. (MTI – Econews)