In the first quarter of 2020, BCI increased by 7.3 index points reaching 25.8. Business confidence improved across all sectors with the exception of the service industry. The largest growth was observed in agriculture, followed by the manufacturing industry. In both sectors, the increase in BCI was driven by improved past performance as well as more optimistic future expectations.
The Past Performance Index, which considers the business sector's assessment of their own economic performance in the previous quarter, showed an upward trend, increasing by 2.4 points in Q1 2020. The manufacturing and agriculture industries were the lead performers in this regard.
After a sharp drop in Q3 2019, the Expectations Index, which reflects business optimism, has almost fully recovered in the last two quarters reaching 42.7 index points. In Q1 2020 all sectors, except the service industry, have demonstrated heightened expectations.
The biggest upswing was observed in the Sales Price Expectations Index, which reached its highest value (18.6) since Q1 2017 (24.3). This comes after a decreasing trend observed during the past two quarters.
Analysis of indices by firm size shows that overall Business Confidence, Past Performance, and Expectations indices have increased for both large companies and SMEs. As for the Sales Price Expectations index, it has improved for large firms but slightly deteriorated for SMEs.
The main factors that limit business activities for firms of all sizes remain the lack of demand and limited access to finance.