In October, businesses returned to reporting guarded expectations for their current economic performance. Persisting considerable security risks, the destroyed production facilities of some companies, logistical hurdles faced by exporters, narrowing investment demand, rebounding fuel price growth, and substantial shortages of qualified staff constrained economic activity and worsened 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 October 2023, the BAEI dropped below its neutral level of 50 points, to 49.6, down from 50.1 in September.
Trading companies have remained the most optimistic among other sectors – they have reported a positive economic outlook for eight months running, thanks to sustained domestic demand, the stable functioning of the energy system, and a sufficient supply of goods, the sector’s index being 53.0 in October, down from 53.3 in September. Respondents continued to declare intentions to step up their goods turnover and to purchase more goods for sale, while also improving their views about their stocks of goods for sale. With stronger expectations of a rise in purchase prices, trading companies expected faster growth in the prices of goods purchased for sale and declared intentions to cut their trade margins further.
Industrial companies have expected no changes in their economic performance for two months in a row, in spite of optimized production/logistical chains and decelerating inflation. The sector’s index was 50.0 in October, unchanged on the previous month. Companies remained upbeat about the amount of manufactured goods, the number of new orders for products, and about stocks of raw materials and supplies. In contrast, they expected a drop in the number of new export orders for products. Respondents reported less pessimistic views about the amount of unfinished products, but remained downbeat about their finished goods stocks.
After reporting a positive economic outlook for five months in a row, in October, construction companies expected weaker economic performance on the back of a seasonal decline in economic activity, narrowing investment demand, and shortages of qualified staff, the sector’s index being 44.8, down from 50.6 in September. For the first time since May of the current year, respondents expected a decrease in construction volumes, the number of new orders and in purchases of raw materials and supplies. They also softened their positive expectations about an increase in purchases of contractor services and the cost of contractor services. Construction companies expected a significant decrease in both selling and purchase price growth, while also being more pessimistic about the availability of contractors.
In October, services companies continued to report a pessimistic economic outlook because of ongoing rises in fuel prices, logistical hurdles and weak demand, the sector’s index being 47.2, down from 47.9 in September. Respondents remained downbeat about the number of new orders and the amount of services that are being provided. In contrast to the previous month, service providers also expected a drop in the amount of services provided.
With rising raw material and supplies prices, most respondents declared intentions to raise their selling prices.
Staff expectations have worsened. Respondents across all sectors reported intentions to reduce their workforces.
This survey was carried out from 5 October through 24 October 2023. A total of 505 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 45.3% are industrial companies, 28.5% services companies, 21.4% trading companies, and 4.8% construction companies; 32.3% of the respondents are large companies, 29.5% medium companies, and 38.2% small companies.
Out of the surveyed companies, 32.1% are both exporters and importers, 9.1% are exporters only, 16.8% are importers only, and 42.0% 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 October 2023 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 November) will be published on the first business day of December 2023.