- 3 min
Issy-les-Moulineaux, 19 January 2009
The seventh edition of the Eurofactor Barometer, a survey conducted by CSA among 3,000 companies with six to 500 employees in seven European countries (Germany, Belgium, Spain, France, Italy, United Kingdom and Portugal), suggests that business managers expect activity to contract in Europe in 2009, due to the financial crisis and its expected consequences, making it unlikely that confidence will return in the near term.
- The number of managers expressing confidence in their economic environment has declined sharply in practically all countries. On the whole, they are now more pessimistic with regard to their economic and financial situation in 2009.
- This drop in confidence is explained by the shocks that are affecting them, whether these are general (financial crisis, commodity and energy prices) or specific to certain economies (credit, real estate).
- Fears of difficulties in accessing finance in 2009 are present in all countries. The feeling that conditions will tighten is nevertheless relative, as there are expectations of a gradual improvement in financing conditions.
- Overall, the number of European companies expecting to resort to credit has decreased sharply, to fewer than 30% for example in France.
- Investment, the main driver of eurozone growth in the last three years, looks set to weaken in the months ahead, with business managers keen to reduce their spending amid the prevailing uncertainty. The fall is expected to be more marked in the case of capacity investment, due to the slowdown in the global economy, but less steep in the case of productivity investment, with European companies lagging somewhat and remaining concerned about competition from emerging markets.
In summary, the Barometer results suggest that business managers expect growth in Europe to slow markedly in 2009. The results nevertheless conceal substantial differences between the various countries. On the one hand, the downturn in confidence is less severe in countries indirectly affected by the financial crisis (Germany, France, Italy, Belgium and Portugal). Among this first group of countries, German business managers remain relatively optimistic with regard to the business outlook in 2009. On the other hand, companies are much more pessimistic in countries directly affected by clearly identified shocks (deep real-estate recession, bursting of a credit bubble) in addition to the financial shock (Spain and United Kingdom).