This survey was completed between March and May of 2020 in chosen Central European countries (Poland, the Czech Republic, Romania, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia), since when the disruption caused by the Covid-19 outbreak has caused significant changes and heightened uncertainty. We strongly believe that understanding the trends over a longer period - before and after the global outbreak of the virus - can be of interest to businesses, regulators and policy-makers.
The main message of this latest Deloitte CE CFO survey is that confidence about the economic outlook and the wider business environment continue to fall among Central Europe’s leading finance professionals.
As in 2019, the majority of CFOs do not think the year ahead will be a good time for companies to take on more risk; this was the view of between 96% (Romania) and 57% (Lithuania) of respondents. There is a consensus across all industries that conditions in 2020 and in the beginning of 2021 will not be favourable for taking more risk in financial decisions. When we compare CFOs’ sentiments about their companies’ financial prospects with their attitudes in the period before the outbreak of the pandemic, it is clear that CFOs are more pessimistic than they were in the survey conducted in the autumn of 2019. That said, more CFOs are less optimistic (72%) than more optimistic (11%).
CFOs perceive reduction in domestic demand as the most significant threat to business over the next year. Another of the CFOs’ greatest concerns is a reduction in the foreign demand. The survey recorded very significant shifts since its last edition (responses were collected in autumn of 2019) in the perceived levels of uncertainty facing respondents’ businesses. No wonder that after the outbreak of the coronavirus, there is a strong tendency towards more pessimistic expectations.
These are some of the headline findings of this, the 12th Deloitte Central Europe CFO survey report, which indicates how CFOs across our region perceive the future performance of their own businesses in the post-crisis world.