Sofia, January 30, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency
By Clive Leviev-Sawyer of the Sofia Globe
Bulgaria’s overall business climate indicator, measured by the National Statistical Institute (NSI), recorded a strong rise in the first month of the year, as the business sentiment turned positive for only the second time in the past eight months.
In January, the business climate indicator rose by 3.8 percentage points, boosted by positive expectations in the construction, industry and services sectors, with only the retail sector remaining downbeat.
The construction business climate indicator posted the most dramatic change – recording an increase of 9.8 percentage points compared to the 8.2 percentage point drop in December 2014 – on the back of increased expectations about orders in the coming three months, as well as positive expectations for the overall health of the sector for the next six months.
The uncertain economic environment and competition in the sector were the most serious factors limiting the business’ development in the sector, according to the NSI. Managers expected selling prices in industry to remain unchanged over the next three months.
The industry business climate indicator rose by 3.4 percentage points, mainly because of industrial entrepreneurs’ improving assessments of the current business situation, on the back of increased expectation about orders over the coming three months. The industrial capacity utilisation rate in January reached 76.1 per cent, the highest value since the NSI began tracking the indicator in 1999.
In the service sector, the business climate was up by 4.1 percentage points, with managers expecting an increase in the amount of orders in the next six months and the overall health of the sector. The uncertain economic environment remains the biggest reason constricting business development, but the impact of this factor appears to be more limited, the NSI survey found.
The business climate in retail fell by two percentage points, as retailers’ forecasts for the next six months were “reserved” and an increasing amount of respondents saying that they expected no change in the overall health of the sector, NSI said.