For the first quarter of 2021, BCI increased by 32.1 index points and reached 3.4 after a significant deterioration in the previous quarter. Business confidence improved across all sectors, except retail trade, with the largest increase observed in the construction sector. The positive change in BCI, for Q1 2021, is driven by optimistic future expectations and improved past performance.
The Past Performance Index, which considers the business sector's assessment of their own economic performance in the previous quarter, increased by 12.4 points compared to Q4 2020, and reached -29.2 for Q1 2021. The construction sector has the greatest improvement in past performance.
Expectations Index, which reflects business optimism, increased significantly after the drastic deterioration in Q4 2020, amounting to 22.5 points. For Q1 2021 all sectors, except retail trade have demonstrated increased expectations.
The Sales Price Expectations Index increased further and reached 29.7 points, indicating a higher share of businesses that anticipate increasing prices on their products. Construction is the only sector where a higher share of businesses predicts decreasing prices in the future.
A lack of demand and limited access to financing continues to be one of the most significant obstacles for both large companies and SMEs. For Q1 2021 "other" factors became more important for both, large companies and SME's, which could reflect the Covid-19 second-wave restrictions that the business sector is currently facing.