Bulgarian finance directors, followed by Slovenian, have the highest optimism about GDP growth in their countries in 2018, according to a new report by Deloitte, a survey of executives from 12 Central European countries. The study includes Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine.
The confidence of the financial directors interviewed in the survey is rising, with the index measuring its level rising by 10 percentage points to 23% for the region. The increase is mainly due to increased optimism about future macroeconomic conditions.
The significant growth is the index of confidence in the economy – from 49% to 60%, reflecting the strength of the European economy in 2017, which is also a prerequisite for the optimistic outlook for 2018.
At the same time, the confidence in the business environment in the region has seen a sharp decline (from -2% to -22%), with financial directors predicting almost all spending categories to increase this year.
The share of CFOs in Central Europe expecting high or very high GDP growth over the next year has almost doubled since the last survey (from 21% to 41%). The average forecast of financiers for GDP growth rises from 1.9% to 2.4%. The optimistic GDP projections are understandable: after the financial crisis, accelerating economic performance is currently stimulating all sectors.
The financial directors in Slovenia and Bulgaria show the highest optimism for their country’s GDP growth in 2018, as 55% and 54% of respondents expect growth of at least 2.6%. The most conservative are financial managers from Ukraine, where less than 20% of participants are expecting such a rapid growth rate. This is mainly due to the complicated political situation and war in the eastern part of the country, which continue to hinder the economy.
There is a consensus that unemployment rates in Central European countries will decrease in 2018. The Bulgarian managers are also optimistic about the unemployment rate this year, with 79% expecting people to work out of work, 21% expecting change, but only 6% provide for an increase in the number of unemployed.
The Czech Republic is the only country in the opposite opinion. Interestingly, the mood is the opposite in neighboring Slovakia where 100% of respondents expect unemployment to fall.