NBU poll: only construction companies are optimistic

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The National Bank of Ukraine has published data from a monthly survey of representatives of various business sectors on the topic of business activity expectations (IODA). Businesses downgraded expectations for their April performance and future prospects in response to the stricter quarantine and growing uncertainty. In April 2021, the index again moved below its equilibrium level of 50 points, to 46.9, down from 51.4 in March.

In April, companies across most of the surveyed sectors reported pessimistic expectations of their business performance – the indices of the industrial, trade and services sectors moved below their neutral levels. Meanwhile, construction companies reported optimistic expectations for the first time since September 2019.

After being optimistic for two months, industrial companies’ expectations of their economic performance worsened – the sector’s index was 49.8 in April, down from 52.3 in March. Industrial companies expected a surge in raw material and supplies prices and selling prices, while remaining upbeat about the number of new orders and the amount of goods manufactured. Respondents from industrial companies said that the number of new export orders would remain unchanged.

Trading companies also worsened their expectations of their business performance, as the sector’s DI dropped to 48.9 in April, from 52.2 in March. Respondents expected a decrease in the amount of goods purchased for sale. With firmer expectations of a rise in purchase prices, trading companies reported stronger expectations of a rise in the price of goods purchased for sale and a decrease in the trade margin. At the same time, respondents expected a slight increase in trade turnover.

Companies in the services sector responded most strongly to the stricter quarantine, significantly worsening expectations of their economic performance – the sector’s index was 43.0, down from 51.4 March. Respondents expected a drop in the amount of services provided, the number of new orders, and the amount of services being provided, while also intending to raise their selling prices.

Construction companies reported positive expectations for the first time since September 2019 on the back of a seasonal rebound in activity and rising investment demand for housing construction – the sector’s index finally moved above its equilibrium level in April, to 51.5, up from 40.6 in March. Respondents expected an increase in construction volumes, the number of new orders, purchases of contractor services, and purchases of raw materials and supplies.

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.

Respondents

This survey was carried out from 5 April through 23 April 2021. A total of 297 companies were polled. Of the companies polled, 41.8% are industrial companies, 30.3% companies in the services sector, 23.9% trading companies, and 4.0% construction companies. 37.0% of the respondents are large companies, 30.0% medium companies, and 33.0% small companies. Of the companies surveyed, 39.4% are both exporters and importers, 10.8% are exporters only, 13.5% are importers only, and 36.4% are neither exporters nor importers.

Read also: “Business complains to the ombudsman about state regulators and customs officers”

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