Companies remained very cautious in their assessments of the current situation. Although expectations rose slightly compared to the previous month, they did not show any clear improvement. The second COVID-19 wave continues to keep the Austrian economy firmly in its grip. In sectors that are directly or indirectly strongly affected by the COVID-19 restrictive measures, the mood is bad.
The index of current economic assessments for the overall economy remained almost unchanged in February (excluding seasonal fluctuations) compared to January (+0.3 points) and, with a value of –14.0, is clearly below the zero line that separates negative from positive economic assessments. Despite minor changes, there are still clear differences across the sectors. In the service sectors, which were strongly affected by the COVID-19 restrictive measures, the index improved slightly (+1.1 points), but remained at a very low level with a value of –23.7. In the construction industry, the situation index rose by 3.3 points and continues to be in very positive territory at 21.9 points. In the manufacturing sector, the situation index lost 1.9 points and remained in negative territory at –10.2 points.
The expectations of Austrian companies have improved slightly compared to the previous month. The index of business expectations gained 0.9 points in February but remains in the sceptical range at –7.9 points. In the construction industry, the expectations index gained 1.9 points and remains above the zero line at 6.2 points. In the service sectors, the expectations index gained 0.4 points, but remains in the pessimistic range at –11.8 points. In the manufacturing sector, the expectations index gained some momentum (+1.4 points), but remains in negative territory at –6.3 points. The majority of companies expect the business situation to be burdened by the COVID-19 crisis in the coming months.
Details on all sectors in the current economic survey can be found here.