Businesses upgraded their expectations for their March economic performance and future prospects on the back of a favorable external environment and more robust domestic demand. This is evidenced by the business activity expectations index (BAEI), which the NBU calculates on a monthly basis. In March 2021, the index was 51.4, up from 48.8 in February. Companies’ expectations exceeded the equilibrium level of 50 points for the first time since February 2020.
In March, companies across all of the surveyed sectors reported more optimistic expectations of their business performance. More specifically, the indices of industrial, trading and services companies moved above the neutral level.
For two months in a row, industrial companies have been reporting the most robust expectations of their economic performance compared to other sectors – the sector’s index was 52.3 in March, up from 50.3 in February. Respondents from industrial companies upgraded their expectations for the amount of manufactured goods and the number of new orders, including export orders.
Respondents from trading and services companies also improved their expectations of their economic performance – the indices of both sectors moved up to 52.2 and 51.4 in March, from 49.0 in February. Firmer expectations for the number of new orders and the amount of goods for sale and services show that these sectors are resuming operations.
Although reporting the weakest expectations, construction (housing construction) companies softened their pessimistic expectations amid a seasonal pick-up in construction activity. The sector’s index was 40.6 in March, up from 35.3 in February. Construction companies upgraded their expectations for construction volumes, purchases of raw materials and supplies and the availability of contractors.
Companies across all sectors expect a rise in their selling prices on the back of higher raw material and supplies prices. They also report no intentions to expand their workforces.
This survey was carried out from 3 March through 24 March 2021. A total of 269 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 40.5% are industrial companies, 30.1% companies in the services sector, 25.7% trading companies, and 3.7% construction companies. 34.2% of the respondents are large companies, 28.6% medium companies, and 37.2% small companies.
Of the companies surveyed, 39.6% are both exporters and importers, 10.0% are exporters only, 16.4% are importers only, and 34.2% 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 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 development 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 2021 survey in the Monthly Surveys of Companies Subsection of the Publications Section.
The results of the next survey (for April) will be published on the first business day of May 2021.