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Businesses Soften Their Negative Views about Economic Activity – Business Outlook Survey in February

Businesses Soften Their Negative Views about Economic Activity – Business Outlook Survey in February

In February, businesses reported less pessimistic expectations of their current and future economic performance. At the same time, high security risks, delayed external financing, logistical problems due to the blockade of Ukraine’s western border, sluggish investment demand, significant shortages of skilled workers, and a seasonal weakening of economic activity at the beginning of the year continued to restrain economic activity and negatively affect businesses’ expectations.

This is evidenced by the business activity expectations index (BAEI), which the NBU calculates on a monthly basis, apart from the forced break in March–May 2022. In February 2024, the BAEI was 47.5, up from 41.0 in January.

Trading companies were the only sector to report a positive economic outlook, thanks to weaker inflationary pressures, a persistently stable FX market, and sustained consumer demand, the sector’s index being 50.1 in February, up from 38.9 in January. In contrast to the two previous months, respondents expected a rise in their trade turnovers and in the amount of goods purchased for sale. Trading companies also improved their views about their stocks of goods for sale. Respondents expected a considerable increase in the cost of goods purchased for sale amid rising logistics prices because of the blockade of Ukraine’s western border. At the same time, trading companies reported weaker intentions to cut their trade margins.

Although remaining pessimistic, industrial companies softened their negative views about their economic performance amid high security risks and logistical hurdles resulting from the blockade of Ukraine’s western border, the sector’s index was 48.3 in February, up from 43.7 in January. In contrast to the previous month, respondents expected an increase in the amount of manufactured goods. Respondents were less downbeat about the number of new orders for products, including export orders, and about finished goods stocks. Respondents continued to expect a drop in their unfinished products and in stocks of raw materials and supplies. With less firm expectations of an increase in raw material and supplies prices, respondents declared weaker intentions to raise their selling prices.

Although softening their negative expectations, services companies continued to report a negative economic outlook due to greater security risks, higher logistics costs and sluggish demand, the sector’s index was 45.3, up from 40.4 in January. Respondents expected a slower decline in the number of new orders, the amount of services provided and the amount of services that are being provided. Services companies also expected slower growth in both purchase and selling prices.

Respondents from the construction sector have for five months in a row reported the most pessimistic expectations for their economic performance among other economic sectors. The reasons for this were the seasonal decline in economic activity, weak investment demand, and considerable shortages of skilled workers. The sector’s index was 43.7, up from 31.9 in January. Companies significantly softened their negative expectations for construction volumes, the number of new orders, and purchases of raw materials and supplies. Respondents were less downbeat about the availability of contractors. Despite expectations of a noticeable increase in the cost of contractor services, respondents said they expected no changes in purchases of these services. Construction companies reported somewhat less firm expectations of a rise in purchase prices, while declaring strong intentions to raise their selling prices.

Staff expectations remained guarded. Trading companies expected a slight increase in their staff numbers, while respondents from the rest of the sectors expected their workforces to reduce at a slower pace. The most difficult situation was in construction.


This survey was carried out from 5 February through 22 February 2024. A total of 448 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 45.3% are industrial companies, 28.3% services companies, 21.7% trading companies, and 4.7% construction companies; 33.5% of the respondents are large companies, 28.1% medium companies, and 38.4% small companies.

Out of the surveyed companies, 33.3% are both exporters and importers, 10.3% are exporters only, 16.1% are importers only, and 40.4% are neither exporters nor importers.

The findings presented reflect only the opinions of the respondents (top managers of Ukrainian companies), and should not be considered as NBU assessments.

The monthly business activity expectations index (BAEI) is a tool for conducting latest assessments and detecting trends in economic development. It is calculated on the basis of surveys of Ukrainian real sector companies.

Monthly business activity expectations indices are calculated on the basis of respondents’ replies. These indices are as follows: sectoral indices (for each sector of the economy) and a composite index (describes the country’s economic performance over a month). A value of 50 corresponds to the neutral level. Index values above the neutral level indicate positive expectations.

Read more about the February 2024 survey in the Monthly Surveys of Companies Subsection of the Publications Section on the NBU’s official website.

The NBU started posting monthly survey results in the open data format.

The results of the next survey (for March 2024) will be published on the first business day of April 2024


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