• 21/02/2024 03:37

For the third quarter in a row, businesses positively assessed the prospects for their economic development – NBU

For the third quarter in a row, businesses expect business activity to increase over the next 12 months, albeit at a slightly lower pace. This is evidenced by the results of a survey of company executives in the fourth quarter of 2023, reports the NBU press service.

For the third quarter in a row, business positively assessed the prospects for its economic development — NBU

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“Despite the security risks and logistical difficulties with crossing the border, respondents predicted a significant increase in the production of goods and services, and were also positive about the development of their own enterprises. Inflation expectations continued to improve, while at the same time exchange rate expectations deteriorated somewhat,” the regulator said in a statement.

Enterprise Business Expectations Index

Enterprise Business Expectations Index (EBI) amounted to 101.6 % compared to 104.5% in the third quarter of 2023.

A slight recovery in business activity is forecast due to continued positive expectations for the overall sales volumes of domestically produced products, investment expenditures on machinery, equipment and inventory, and the future financial and economic state.

Military actions and their consequences remain the dominant factor constraining the development of enterprises . The impact of the shortage of qualified workers has also noticeably increased.

Business expectations regarding the macroeconomic situation in Ukraine

Business for the third quarter predicted an increase in the production of goods and services in Ukraine in the next 12 months, reinforcing positive expectations: the balance of responses was 15.2% compared to 9.8% in the third quarter of 2023.

Growth was expected enterprises of all types of economic activity and size by number of employees, as well as most areas and types of activity, except exporters.

The improvement in inflation expectations continues for the fifth quarter in a row: in the fourth quarter of 2023, annual inflation expected over the next 12 months was 11.3%, compared with 14.8% in the previous quarter. Almost a quarter of respondents (24.8%) expected inflation to range from 7.6% to 10%.

Military actions remain the most significant pro-inflationary factor for 83% of respondents. The influence of factors increasing household incomes (by 3.2 p.p.) and “social budget expenditures” (by 1.8 p.p.) continued to increase. But the influence of the factors “tax changes” (by 6.3 percentage points) and the “hryvnia exchange rate to foreign currencies” (by 4.1 percentage points) weakened.

Expectation of the level of hryvnia devaluation

Expectations for the level of devaluation of the national currency have worsened slightly: the average exchange rate that respondents expect in 12 months is 40.06 UAH/$ (in the previous quarter – 40.00 UAH/$). The majority of respondents (55.4% compared to 56.5% in the third quarter) expect that the hryvnia exchange rate in the next 12 months will not exceed 40.00 UAH/$.

Current status and expectations of enterprises on your own development

The current financial and economic condition of enterprises is still weak, despite its gradual improvement: the balance of responses was “minus” 5.6% compared to “minus” 5.8% in the third quarter.

Businesses reservedly assessed the improvement financially -economic condition of their own enterprises in the next 12 months: balance of answers – 4.1% (in the third quarter of 2023 – 6%). Enterprises of most types of economic activity expect an improvement in their financial and economic condition; the most optimistic in their assessments are enterprises in the processing industry and construction – response balances are 11.8% and 9.5%, respectively.

Survey participants remain optimistic in their forecasts for product sales volumes, including on the foreign market: response balances – 10.6% and 9.7%, respectively (in the third quarter – 16.8% and 10.6%, respectively ). Respondents from all foreign trade activities expect an increase in the total volume of product sales, most of all – the mining and processing industries, as well as trade (the balance of responses is 20%, 15.7% and 14.4%, respectively).

For the third quarter in a row, enterprises maintained positive assessments of changes in the level of investment spending on machinery, equipment and inventory, although they were somewhat more restrained: the balance of responses was 6.6% (in the third quarter – 8.8%). At the same time, pessimistic assessments of investment costs for construction work intensified: the balance of responses was “minus” 6.9% (in the third quarter – “minus” 2.2%).

Enterprises attracting foreign investment increased expectations of an increase in their volumes in the next 12 months: the balance of responses was 11.3% (in the third quarter – 7.1%). Enterprises of energy and water supply, mining industry, as well as transport and communications had high expectations (response balances 50%, 44.4% and 25%, respectively). The share of respondents who plan to attract foreign investment in the next 12 months decreased to 20.7% compared to 24.2% in the preliminary survey.

Respondents' forecasts for changes in the number of employees at their enterprises in the next 12 months remain negative: the balance of responses is “minus” 6.5% (in the third quarter – “minus” 7%). The most restrained respondents in their forecasts were from the extractive industry, construction, transport and communications (response balances “minus” 27.3%, “minus” 23.8% and “minus” 20%, respectively). At the same time, respondents from trade and other types of activities expect an increase in the number of employees.

A more rapid increase in the cost of remuneration of one employee is expected: the balance of responses is 57.9% compared to 47.2% in the third quarter.

Despite the weakening expectations of enterprises regarding the need for borrowed funds in the near future, the share of respondents planning to take out bank loans remained almost unchanged and amounted to 36% (in the third quarter – 36.1%).

Enterprises that plan to attract loans, prefer loans in national currency – 80.3% (in the third quarter – 82%).

High rates remain a significant obstacle to attracting new loans—46.6% of responses. At the same time, the influence of the factor “availability of other sources of financing” increased – by 1.3 percentage points to 40.2%.

The share of companies planning to raise funds abroad decreased to 7.8% compared to from 8.2% in the previous quarter.

Survey

The quarterly survey was conducted from October 31 to November 28, 2023. 659 enterprises from 21 regions of the country took part in the survey (excluding the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, as well as the Donetsk, Lugansk and Kherson regions).

Among the surveyed enterprises, 21.4% were wholesale and retail companies trade, 18.1% – processing industry, 14.6% – agriculture, 13.8% – transport and communications, 7% – mining industry, 4.6% – energy and water supply, 3.2% – construction, 17.5% – other; 29.3% of respondents are large enterprises, 37.8% are medium-sized, 32.9% are small.

“The survey results reflect only the opinion of the respondents—company managers, and not the estimates of the National Bank of Ukraine,”— noted by the regulator.

minfin.com.ua

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