Economic Outlook CE CFO Survey 2021


Economic outlook

Central Europe CFO Survey 2021

Overall optimism still shaky due to ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 Pandemic

Key facts

  • The average expected GDP growth for 2021 is 0.25%, compared to 2.0% in 2020 and 2.3% in 2019.
  • Almost 70% of CFOs expect an increase of unemployment.
  • 62% of respondents expect an increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation (83% in 2020, 82% in 2019). 

CFO Confidence Index

The CFO Confidence Index has remained at a similar level to what was predicted for 2020: 10% for 2021 compared with 9% projected for 2020. In 2018, it stood at 23%, before falling 7 percentage points (pp) to 16% in 2019. Despite the Covid-19 Pandemic, CFOs have not become considerably pessimistic about the future and prospects for 2021.

GDP growth

The average expected GDP growth for 2021* is only 0.25%, compared to 2.0% in 2020 and 2.3% in 2019. There has been a 4pp fall in the proportion of CFOs expecting GDP to reach more than 2.5%. In 2021, 26% expect GDP to exceed 2.5%, down from 30% in 2020. Respectively 60% of our respondents predict the GDP will be no higher than 1.5%, compared with 37% sharing the same estimation for 2020.

32% of CFOs, compared with 10% last year, expect GDP in the Eurozone to increase by more than 2.5%. For EU markets, the anticipated growth of no more than 1.5% remained at 58%, while 30% of CFOs predict it will reach the level of between 1.6% and 3.5%.


Since 2018 our survey has shown how expectations around unemployment continue to rise. While 36% expected an increase in 2020, almost 70% expect unemployment to rise for this year*. This is related to an anticipated and already in effect impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic on the labour market. Predictions in this area by CFOs in Eurozone and EU countries do not differ significantly, with 61% of Eurozone and 71% of EU respondents forecasting an increase in unemployment by 28%.

Consumer Price Index (CPI)

Like our last edition, the majority of CFOs – 62%*- expect an increase in Consumer Price Index (CPI) inflation (83% in 2020, 82% in 2019). 28% expect no further changes in the CPI levels. At 1.8%, their estimate for the Eurozone inflation rate is also one of the highest. CFOs from countries whose official currency is the Euro (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Montenegro, Slovakia and Slovenia) all predict that the inflation rate in their countries will be higher than in the Eurozone as a whole.

*Views from CFOs in the Poland not included