Business Confidence Index: businesses in the lockdown
21 April 2020

In the second quarter of 2020, BCI decreased by 53.0 index points reaching an all-time low of -27.2 points. Business confidence deteriorated significantly across all sectors. The largest decline was observed in retail trade, followed by the service industry. The decrease in BCI was driven by worsened past performance as well as drastically pessimistic future expectations.

The Past Performance Index, which considers the business sector's assessment of their own economic performance in the previous quarter, showed a downward trend, decreasing by 55.5 points in Q2 2020. The service and agriculture industries had the greatest decline in past performance.

After recovering from a sharp drop in Q3 2019, the Expectations Index, which reflects business optimism, showed the biggest downturn and reached its all-time low: -41.4 index points. In Q2 2020 all sectors have demonstrated reduced expectations.

The Sales Price Expectations Index took the smallest hit, however, it also reached its lowest value (-5.3), indicating a higher share of businesses who expect lower prices. Manufacturing and agriculture are the only sectors where a higher share of businesses predict increasing prices in the future.

Analysis of these indices by firm size shows that overall the Business Confidence, Past Performance, Expectations, and Sales Price Expectations indices have decreased for both large companies and SMEs.

The main factors that limit business activities for firms of all sizes remain lack of demand and limited access to finance. "Other" factors have also become a further significant hindrance that could indicate a link to the government’s state of emergency constraints due to COVID-19.