Economic Outlook CE CFO Survey

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Economic outlook

Central Europe CFO Survey

What are CFOs’ expectations for economic environment development? What GDP growth rate do they predict? Do they expect unemployment level to rise, fall or stay the same in their countries in 2017?

  • The economic growth rate in Central European countries accelerated in 2016, and most countries in the region saw falling unemployment. These economic improvements are leading to a positive outlook on the future.
  • When thinking of the uncertainty surrounding the potential effects of Brexit, CFOs expect a restricted workforce mobility and decreased export opportunities as some of the many changes taking place when facing Brexit.

CFO Confidence Index

CFOs are clearly optimistic about the changes they anticipate in 2017. The CFO Confidence Index has a positive value of 13, which stands in sharp contrast to last year's more pessimistic predictions.

We can observe the biggest change in the participating CFOs' outlook on the economy. The index has risen by an impressive 29 points, indicating a striking change in attitudes. The economic situation continues to improve, leading to improving expectations for the future.

GDP growth

CFOs are very optimistic about GDP growth in 2017  – 21% of CFOs expect growth of more than 2.6%. None of the respondents expect a negative GDP growth rate. The CFOs’ expectations for GDP growth are much more optimistic than they were last year. Romanian and Polish CFOs are particularly optimistic about economic growth, with 47% and 42% respectively expecting GDP growth of over 2.6%. Hungarian and Slovenian CFOs are the least optimistic about the future, with 55% and 45% respectively expecting GDP growth of 1.5% or less. CFOs in eurozone countries expect GDP growth of 1.4%, compared to 1.7% expected by those from EU member states.

Economic outlook

Unemployment

CFOs also expect such positive changes to have an impact on unemployment rates, with the majority of respondents predicting a larger fall than we saw the previous year. CFOs from most countries in the study are optimistic about unemployment, with those from Slovakia (71%) and Bulgaria (61%) expecting the biggest falls. CFOs from Bosnia and Herzegovina are the only ones making negative predictions (with a -6% Net Balance), which might be a result of the country’s very high and growing unemployment rate (41%).

CFOs from countries with the healthiest job markets – the Czech Republic and Hungary (both with 5% unemployment rates) – have the most positive view of the employment situation. They have Net Balances of 9% and 31% respectively, and do not expect the situation to change (56% and 41% respectively). We should also note a difference in the opinion of CFOs from the eurozone and the EU: the former are much more optimistic (with respective Net Balances of 53% and 15%).

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  • Brexit