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ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟ & ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟ ΕΠΙΜΕΛΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ - Ε.Β.Ε.Θ ΕΜΠΟΡΙΚΟ & ΒΙΟΜΗΧΑΝΙΚΟ ΕΠΙΜΕΛΗΤΗΡΙΟ ΘΕΣΣΑΛΟΝΙΚΗΣ - Ε.Β.Ε.Θ

The 19th TCCI Barometer (March 2018)

04/05/18 11:10

“TCCI BAROMETER”  (Executive Summary)

Thessaloniki Chamber of Commerce and Industry (TCCI), consistent to its efforts to increase information levels and inform both businesses and organizations (public or private) as well as Thessaloniki’s community, continues the periodic Survey of Economic Climate (at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki) on the four business sectors of the economy and consumers.

The Survey of Economic Climate at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (TCCI Barometer) is conducted twice a year during the 2nd fortnight of March and September, with a total sample of 1500 respondents (800 companies and 700 consumers). The survey covers all four sectors of the economy (industry, services, retail trade and constructions).

TCCI Barometer” survey is conducted via telephone interviews with the managers of businesses (General Managers, or Finance Managers, or Sales Managers or the owners in case of “smaller” companies) and with the use of questionnaires used by the Foundation for Economic & Industrial Research and the European Union, so that the results are comparable with the equivalent National and European surveys. 

 

1.CONSUMER SURVEY

The “Consumer Confidence Indicator” is calculated based on consumer’s predictions for the general economic situation of the country, the economic situation of their household, the intention for saving and their prediction for unemployment levels. It must be mentioned that predictions are between +100 (all consumers anticipate an increase) to -100 (all consumers anticipate a decrease) and appear as differences between positive and negative responses. In particular, a negative difference means that the percentage of those who predict a decrease is higher than the one of those who predict an increase and vice – versa.

According to the survey, consumers at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki appear pessimistic, almost at the same level as in September 2017, as the Indicator of Consumer Confidence at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki stands at -34 points, better than the National one which stands at -53 points, while the European Union one stands at 0 points for March 2018. Compared to September 2017, the climate among consumers is almost unchanged at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (-34 from -36), as well as  at National level (-53 from -54).

The survey reveals that the strong positive trend which emerged in September 2017 has been now halted. Despite the absence of additional fiscal measures for the current year following the completion of the second assessment of the Greek Economic Adjustment Program, the significantly lower growth rate observed in the Greek economy during the past few months in relation to the initial projections, coupled with the intense debate over the possible implementation (in 2019) of new cuts in households' disposable income (reductions in pensions, restriction of the tax-free income limit), may have contributed to maintaining the pessimistic climate unchanged, after an impressive improvement in September 2017. It should also be stressed that a similar trend is also observed at the National level. Additionally, one should take into account the worrying developments in Greece - Turkey relations, which have almost certainly affected negatively the general consumer climate.

In particular, consumers at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki indicate: 

  • Unchanged negative evaluation in their economic situation for the preceding period, followed by a slight reduction of pessimism (compared to September 2017) regarding the near future, as the majority predict stability of their financial situation over the next 12 months. It should be mentioned, though, that the percentage of those who expect an improvement of their economic situation over the next 12 months is still low (15%) but has doubled compared to September 2017 (8%).
  • Unchanged negative views as far as the country's economic situation over the past year is concerned, as well as unchanged pessimism for the near future, although milder compared to the negative evaluation for the past year.
  • Consumers in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki estimate that prices were stable in general during the last 12 months.  Moreover, they expect this stability to continue over the next 12 months. At National level, consumers consider that prices followed an upward trend during the past twelve months and they anticipate a milder price increase in the near future.   
  • Pessimism, almost unchanged compared to September 2017, about the unemployment level in the country. Thus, the level of pessimism in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki is slightly lower (+27) than the corresponding National one (+33).
  •  In accordance with the unchanged pessimism that characterizes consumer expectations and the geopolitical developments in the region, their intention to make major purchases at present is lower, as well as their willingness to make such purchases in the future.
  • Low intention to save. It must be mentioned though, that when comparing to September 2017, there is a small increase in the percentage of those who manage to save (14%, up from 10%), while 34% of the consumers in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki live at the expense of their savings or borrow money (38% in September 2017) and 52% say that they just break even with their income (at the exact level as in September 2017). However, the increase in the percentage of those who intend to put away, is probably linked to geopolitical developments in the region and recent problems in Greek-Turkish relations, rather than to the improvement of households' economic situation.
  • Despite the unchanged pessimism, an upward trend is expected for the car market in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki for the next 12 months.
  • Stability (at low level) with regard to the real estate market and construction activity in general, but remarkably improved situation as far as the renovations and/or house repairs-improvements market is concerned. The take-off of new subsidized program during the past few weeks, has probably contributed to this trend.  

 

2.INDUSTRY SURVEY

For the first time since the launch of the TCCI Barometer back in 2009, the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki is positive, improved compared to September 2017. The corresponding National indicator has marginally dropped, remaining slightly negative, while the European one is slightly positive.

It must be emphasized that the deindustrialization of the Prefecture of Thessaloniki and the transfer of many businesses of this sector in neighboring countries in recent years, has made difficult even the completion of the survey’s sample required.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” stands at +4  points at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (-3 at National and +6 at European level). It should be noted that this indicator has been remarkably improved, compared to September 2017, at local level (+4 from -6), has remained almost unchanged at National level (-3 from -1) and at European level (+6 from -+7).

Mixed trends are observed in the survey as far as the Industrial sector is concerned. The evaluation of the industrial sector in Thessaloniki for the past six months has been slightly worsened compared to September 2017 (-9 from -4), while the current total orders’ level is considered to be unsatisfactory but appears slightly improved compared to September 2017 (-45 from -50). Estimates for the next six months about production are very positive and impressively improved compared to September 2017. On the other hand, current export orders indicator is strongly negative and worsened compared to the previous period (-44 from -38), while the positive estimates in relation to the export activity in the future at local level have dropped.

All of the above, coupled with a significant improvement in estimates about employment over the next six months (+15 from -1 in September 2017), show that the estimated significant recovery in production and employment in the Industry sector and the consequent rise of the "Business Expectation Indicator for the Industrial Sector" in positive ground, is due to expectation of domestic demand recovery (probably linked to expectations for a strong tourism upcoming period) rather than due to factors related to exports and extroversion.

In particular, the views of the industrial sector at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are summarized as follows: 

  • There is a slight drop in production, compared to September 2017 (-9 from -4). Moreover, a similar downward trend appear in the relevant National indicator, but in clearly positive ground (+13 from +23). Estimates regarding the evolution of production in the near future at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki are the best since the commencement of TCCI Barometer back in 2009, whereas at national level estimates are also positive but milder.
  • Relatively good management of inventories and production capacity is achieved.
  • Slight optimism for the future with regard to exports is recorded, slightly milder though compared to September 2017.
  • Relatively constant product prices are expected for the near future, while there is a remarkable positive prospect as far as employment is concerned.
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