Economic Outlook CE CFO Survey


Economic outlook

Central Europe CFO Survey 2019

The positive expectations regarding the European economy, which had been on the rise since 2016, not only failed to grow in 2019 but actually showed a slight decrease.

Key facts

  • Respondents expect GDP growth in 2019 to average 2.3%, which is 0.1% less than in 2018.
  • A majority of CFOs (82%) expect an increase in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) in 2019, 3 percentage points (p.p.) fewer than in 2018.
  • The largest share of CFOs (41%) expect no change in unemployment levels in 2019, but the share of those who expect an increase grew from 13% in 2018 to 21% in 2019.

CFO Confidence Index

CFOs have become less optimistic about the future. The CFO Confidence Index has fallen by 8 p.p. since last year, from 23% to 16%.

However, this is still higher than the value in the 2017 Index. This year’s outcome is mainly driven by negative expectations about the business environment, in particular an increase in the predicted costs of running a business.

Gavin Flook talks about CFOs' predictions for major economic indicators such as GDP growth, unemployment and inflation

GDP growth

After three years of rising optimism for GDP increases, CFOs’ expectations have fallen slightly in 2019. The average expected GDP growth for 2019 is 2.3%, compared to 2.4% in 2018. There is a disproportion between the Central European region as a whole and those countries from the Eurozone, where CFOs are much more optimistic. In Eurozone countries, 48% of CFOs expect GDP to increase by more than 2.6% (against an average expectation of 2.5%). This compares with 40% of CFOs from across the region as a whole (average expectation: 2.3%).


The majority of CFOs still expect Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation to increase, but their share has slightly diminished since last year from 85% to 82%. This situation is mostly influenced by respondents from non-EU countries, especially from Montenegro (where only 29% expect a rise) and Serbia (49%). Predictions for EU and Eurozone countries have not changed since last year.


Economic outlook
Economic outlook