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Businesses remain upbeat about their performance outlook – business outlook survey in May

Businesses remain upbeat about their performance outlook – business outlook survey in May

Despite the ongoing full-scale war, companies have reported positive expectations of their current performance for two months running. The successful restoration of the energy system, rebounding domestic demand, due to, among other things, the gradual return of Ukrainians from abroad, coupled with a stronger hryvnia, helped shape respondents’ positive views about their economic performance in the near future.

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 May 2023, the BAEI remained above it neutral level of 50 points, totaling 50.5, compared to 51.5 in April.

Construction companies reported the most noticeable improvement in their views compared to other sectors. For the first time in the last year and a half, companies in the sector expected growth in their performance results on the back of seasonal factors, the gradual resumption of operations of most producers of construction materials and rebounding demand. In May, the sector’s index was 51.3, up from 44.9 in April. Respondents expected an increase in construction volumes, while also declaring intentions to purchase more raw materials and supplies. Construction companies expected no change in the number of new orders. Respondents reported much stronger intentions to purchase contractor services, while also expecting a slight improvement in the availability of contractors.

Although weakening slightly, trading companies’ performance expectations remained the most optimistic, driven by reviving consumer demand and slower inflation. In May, the sector’s index was 52.7, down from 57.6 in April. Respondents continued to report strong expectations for their trade turnover and purchases of goods for sale. At the same time, respondents expected a slower rise in the cost of goods purchased for sale and in purchase prices, while also once again declaring intentions to cut their trade margins.

Respondents from industrial companies have expected more robust economic performance for three months in a row thanks to reliable power supply and new shipment routes. In May, the sector’s DI was 50.4, compared to 50.5 in April. Compared to April, respondents more strongly expected an increase in the amount of manufactured goods and the number of new orders for products, including export orders. Companies reported somewhat more pessimistic views about the amount of unfinished products (unfulfilled orders).

Services companies were the only companies across other sectors to report a negative economic outlook. In May, the sector’s index was 48.9, up from 48.8 in April. Respondents have been expecting an increase in the amount of services provided for two months running. For the first time since October 2021, services companies expected a rise in the number of new orders. At the same time, respondents were downbeat about the amount of services that are being provided.

Most surveyed respondents continued to report strong expectations of a rise in raw material and supplier prices, while also declaring firm intentions to raise their selling prices.

Employment expectations remained guarded. Respondents across all of the surveyed sectors reported no intentions to expand their workforces. Services companies reported the least pessimistic expectations.


This survey was carried out from 4 May through 24 May 2023. A total of 487 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 45.4% are industrial companies, 29.8% services companies, 20.5% trading companies, and 4.3% construction companies; 32.2% of the respondents are large companies, 30.4% medium companies, and 37.4% small companies.

Out of the surveyed companies, 32.2% are both exporters and importers, 9.0% are exporters only, 17.0% are importers only, and 41.7% 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 forecasts or 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 May 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 June) will be published on the first business day of July 2023.


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