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Businesses Return to Positive Economic Outlook – Business Outlook Survey in March

Businesses Return to Positive Economic Outlook – Business Outlook Survey in March

After reporting negative expectations for five months running, businesses reported a positive economic outlook in March. The improved sentiment of respondents across all sectors resulted, among other things, from an increase in maritime and railway transportation, a persistently stable FX market, low inflation expectations, and a seasonal revival in business activity. At the same time, more intense missile attacks on critical infrastructure, the risk that international funding will not be sufficient, and the blockade of Ukraine’s western border remained constraining factors.

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 March 2024, the BAEI was 52.0, compared to 47.5 in February and the neutral level of 50 points.

Trading companies have remained the most upbeat among the sectors – they have reported positive performance expectations for two months in a row, thanks to an increase in maritime and railway transportation, slower inflation, and stable consumer demand. The sector’s index was 55.1 in March, up from 50.1 in February. Respondents expected a further rise in trade turnover and the amount of goods purchased for sale, while also reporting firmer positive expectations for a rise in stocks of goods for sale. Respondents expected an increase in the cost of goods purchased for sale, while also declaring intentions to cut their trade margins further.

Industrial companies reported positive performance expectations for the near future on the back of steady consumer demand, a sustainable FX market, and low inflation expectations, the sector’s index was 51.0 in March, up from 48.3 in February. Respondents were upbeat about the amount of manufactured goods and the number of new orders for products, including export orders. Expectations about the amount of unfinished products came very close to the neutral level. For the first time over the last three months, respondents upgraded their views, to a positive level, about their finished goods stocks. Respondents also softened their negative views about their stocks of raw materials and supplies.

Budgetary financing for the restoration of infrastructure and favorable weather conditions significantly improved the economic outlook of construction companies, the sector’s index being 53.5, up from 43.7 in February. Respondents expected an increase in construction volumes, the number of new orders and in purchases of raw materials and supplies. Despite retaining negative views about the cost of contractor services and the availability of contractors, respondents expected to purchase more contractor services.

Services companies, for the first time since October 2021, reported a positive economic outlook, thanks to improved supply chains and a pickup in demand, the sector’s index was 50.6 in March, up from 45.3 in February. In contrast to previous months, respondents expected a rise in the number of new orders, the amount of services provided, and the amount of services that are being provided.

With more robust growth in purchase prices, companies across all surveyed sectors continued to declare intentions to raise their selling prices further.

Staff expectations have improved somewhat, but still varied across sectors. Construction and trading companies said they intended to expand their workforces slightly, while industrial and services companies continued to report intentions to cut their workforces.


This survey was carried out from 4 March through 21 March 2024. A total of 456 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 45.0% are industrial companies, 27.9% services companies, 22.4% trading companies, and 4.8% construction companies; 30.5% of the respondents are large companies, 27.2% medium companies, and 42.3% small companies.

Out of the surveyed companies, 32.5% are both exporters and importers, 10.1% are exporters only, 18.0% are importers only, and 39.5% 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 March 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 April 2024) will be published on the first business day of May 2024.




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