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

THE 23rd TCCI BAROMETER- MARCH 2020

11/05/20 17:36

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.

 

IMPORTANT METHODOLOGICAL NOTE ABOUT TCCI BAROMETER – MARCH 2020

The consumer and business field surveys at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, upon which all the TCCI Barometer March 2020 indicators are based, were conducted in the midst of the coronavirus epidemic crisis. More specifically, the Consumer survey was conducted between March 23rd and April 1st, 2020, while the Business survey was conducted between March 23rd and April 7th, 2020.  During this period, all the restraining measures to combat the coronavirus epidemic were put into action and implemented, such as both the suspension of operation of businesses’ and the public sector, as well as the citizens’ restraining of movement. Therefore, the TCCI Barometer of March 2020 indicators, fully reflect the consumer and business climate amidst the coronavirus epidemic crisis.

National indicators are made up by the consumer and business surveys conducted by the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research (ΙΟΒΕ), which are part of the common research program funded by the European Union (DG ECFIN) - these results, are used in the calculation of the economic climate indicators in Greece and the rest of the EU countries. Taking the Foundation for Economic and Industrial Research announcement into consideration about the National indicators for March 2020, “it is highlighted that one part of the primary survey was conducted before the implementation of the suspension of operation in specific sectors of the economy and a bigger part of the primary survey was conducted even before the implementation of the citizens’ restraining of transportation. Thus, the indicators’ projection doesn’t entirely incorporate in full-range the developments that occurred during March. Regarding this fact, a further, probably more powerful deterioration of the climate and expectations in general, is possible in the following months”.

Based on the above, it is important to take into consideration that this time difference, though short in days, between the primary research that feeds the National and European indicators and the relevant one of the TCCI Barometer that feeds those of the Thessaloniki Prefecture, renders these indicators incomparable, due to the coronavirus crisis developments that occurred during this period, both in Greece as well as in a series of other European countries.

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 show intense concern and pessimism amidst the coronavirus epidemic crisis and currently the Consumer Confidence Indicator stands at -45 points – showing a remarkable 43-point “downfall” as compared with last “September 2019”.


The survey shows a dramatic climate change among consumers, as the Consumer Confidence Indicator “sinks” 43 whole points, from -2 points in September 2019 – the highest point ever recorded since the beginning of the “TCCI Barometer” in March 2009 – to -45 points today. The euphoria that followed the results of the National Elections of July 2019 and lead consumer confidence to an almost “optimistic” level, has given its place to a sense of intense concern and worry as far as the “next day” of the coronavirus epidemic is concerned. And this is totally justified, since already by the end of March – when the consumer survey was conducted - 43% of those who participated stated that their income has been reduced, 27% stated that their job was either suspended or permanently lost (got fired) and also another 27% stated that their business has been reduced.

In particular, consumers at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki indicate:

  • On one hand, stable evaluation of their economic situation for the preceding period, (compared to September 2019), while on the other hand a sense of intense pessimism about its future development, since there is a remarkable increase in the percentage of those who expect a deterioration of their household’s economic situation (from 12% in September 2019 to 55% at present), while just a minority of 7% predicts further future improvement for the following year.                                                
  • While the percentage of those who positively view the country’s economic situation over the past year is supplemented (41% today from 27% last September), at the same time the percentage of those who estimate that the country’s general economic situation over the next 12 months will deteriorate, skyrockets from 15% on September 2019 to 70% today.
  • Consumers in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki estimate that prices have been stabilized during the past 12 months (55% from 44% last September), while the percentage of those who detect some increase in prices has reduced down to 39% from 47% last September. Meanwhile, there is a slight increase in the percentage of the consumers who believe that consumer prices will rise with a small, medium or high pace over the next 12 months (45% versus 39% last September 2019).
  • Consumers seem extremely pessimistic as far as unemployment levels are concerned, since the majority of respondents believe that unemployment levels will increase “A lot” or “Somewhat” (73% compared to 28% in September 2019), while at the same time there is an abruptly reduced percentage of those who believe that unemployment levels will decline over the next 12 months (11% compared to 28% last September 2019).  
  • There is a remarkable deterioration of the consumer’s evaluation of current circumstances to make major purchases (9% considers that this is an appropriate time for important purchases such as furniture, electric appliances etc., compared to 18% on September 2019), plummeting to an absolute negative ground, the worst level ever recorded since the establishment of the TCCI Barometer survey. A similar deterioration is also recorded in the indicator measuring the willingness to make such purchases in the future.
  • A rather reduced intention to save is reported, however, compared to September 2019 a slight decrease in the percentage of those who save money (more” or “less”) is recorded (21% from 25%), while there is a marginal increase in the number of those who say they live at the expense of their savings or borrow money (24% from 22%) and a rather stable percent (54%) of those who say that they just break even with their income (53% in September 2019).
  • A deterioration is reported as far as the car market is concerned in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, with 6% of the consumers saying that it is very or highly likely to make a car purchase (9% in September 2019).
  • The real estate market is estimated to remain steadily grounded, whereas the construction activity is generally expected to deteriorate as far as the renovations and / or repairs-house improvements are concerned, where the corresponding indicator shows signs of decrease (14% over 19% last September 2019).

2.INDUSTRY SURVEY

The “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki is sinking to an absolute negative level, showing a abrupt downfall compared to that of September 2019.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector” stands now at -41 points at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki. It must be noted that this indicator, reaches its worst level since the beginning of the TCCI Barometer surveys in March 2009, showing an almost 40-point fall compared to September 2019 (from -2 to -41 today).

After a two-year period that the Business Expectations Indicator for the Industrial Sector appeared to “flirt” with positive grounds, moving away from the negative numbers that were consistently recorded from 2009 up to 2016-2017, the appearance of the coronavirus epidemic as well as the development and implementation of the restraining measures to combat the sanitary crisis, have lead to its downfall at an even worse level than the one recorded during Greece’s recent economic crisis (2010-2011). It should be noted that the evaluations for the evolution of exports – which were once considered to be the “steam engine” of the sector’s business trust – also fall at their lowest point ever, since the beginning of the “TCCI Barometer” surveys

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

  • There is a significant deterioration in production (-21 from +7) over the past 6 months, with the corresponding indicator appearing in an absolutely negative ground. Estimates regarding the evolution of production in the near future at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, are once again at an extremely negative level, the worst since the establishment of the TCCI Barometer surveys, freefalling at a more than 80 points range compared to the previous semester (-66 from +21 in September 2019).
  • There is a relatively satisfying management of inventories and production capacity achieved. At the same time, the current production capacity level is significantly deteriorating compared to last September, when it had reached its highest point ever (60% today from 72%). Meanwhile, the assured months of production based on current overall books fall to 1,5 – the worst performance ever recorded since the establishment of the TCCI Barometer – as compared to its best performance ever recorded, last September (3,9 months).
  • A deep pessimism is recorded as far as the future of the exports are concerned, the lowest point ever recorded since “TCCI Barometer” launch in 2009 (-51 from +34 last semester).
  • A pronounced fall of product prices is expected for the near future, as well as a quite relative downward trend for employment over the near future.

 

3.SERVICES SURVEY

A highly remarkable decline is reported in the climate recorded by the service businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki compared to September 2019, with the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Services sector” returning at a negative ground as last recorded three years ago.

More specifically, the relevant “Business Expectations Indicator for the Services Sector” is recorded at negative ground (-30 points), whereas in the previous semester it stood at +21 points when it had been for the first time ever recorded in positive grounds since the beginning of the “TCCI Barometer” in March 2009.

In particular, services companies at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki mention:

  • Remarkable deterioration as far as their business performance is concerned (-30 today compared to +4 last September), as well as their demand during the preceding six months (from +15 last September 2019 to -2 today).
  • A crash of expectations for the development of the demand over the next six months is reported, reaching the lowest value ever recorded over the past decade (-58 compared to +45 on September 2019).
  • There is also a marginally neutral trend as far as the development of employment is concerned during the past 6 months and clearly negative trends over its development in the near future (next 6 months). A reverse is recorded, in the upward trend of price levels that started in September 2015 and kept being reported in every “TCCI Barometer” survey ever since

 

4.RETAIL TRADE SURVEY

A highly remarkable deterioration is also reported in the climate among Retail businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki, compared to September 2019, with the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Retail Trade sector” returning to an absolutely negative ground and its lowest level since the 2010-2012 period.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Retail Trade sector” falls at -37 points (from +8 in September 2019), when it reached its highest point (and for the first time a positive ground) since the beginning of the TCCI Barometer surveys.

In particular, the views of Retail businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be summarized as follows:

  • A negative, and clearly downward evaluation (-44 from -13 in September 2019) is observed about sales during the past six months, while expectations about sales in the next six months also appear to sink at an 80-point level (-67 from +21 in September 2019). In addition, a free fall is observed as far as the development of orders are concerned for the next six months, reaching their lowest point since the launch of the “TCCI Barometer” at positive ground (from +8 points in September 2019 to -68 today).
  • Moreover, they foresee a clear decrease in the employment levels in their sector and a similar decline as far as product prices are concerned in the near future.

5.CONSTRUCTION SURVEY

A downward trend with a further increase of pessimism in the Construction sector is recorded as well, where the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Construction Sector”  in the Prefecture of Thessaloniki is substantially reduced.

Thus, the balance of positive – negative estimates of the “Business Expectations Indicator for the Construction Sector” stands at -33 points at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki (compared to -22 in September 2019).


In particular, the views of Construction businesses at the Prefecture of Thessaloniki can be summarized as follows:

  • A slight decline of the construction activity indicator over the last six months is reported (-3 points today compared to +8 points in September 2019).
  • A further (but slight) decline in the Construction sector is recorded as far as the current levels of orders is concerned.
  • A similar downward trend appears in both real estate prices and employment levels over the next 6 months at a local level.

 

 


 

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