Impetum Group published today the conclusions of the 8th CONFIDEX study that measures Romanian managers' trust in the economy in the first semester of 2023. Although there is still a lot of uncertainty in the economy after the pandemic, the conflict in Ukraine, the energy and raw materials crises, managers are becoming more and more optimistic and relaxed, a sign of maturity and lessons learned from the experiences of the last 3 years. The CONFIDEX index reached its highest level so far, namely 50.2. Specifically, there is an improvement in the state of mind of the managers of companies with a turnover of over 5 million euros (the CONFIDEX index for this segment is 51).
”The optimism of Romanian managers could indicate a change of trend in the economy: today, CONFIDEX confirms the forecasts of the intensification of economic growth in Romania for the next period. In my opinion, this optimism helps managers to have a direct contribution to a better economic future in Romania: they invest more, hire more, and this behaviour generates the GDP,”, said Andrei Cionca, CEO of Impetum Group.
Where does this optimism come from?
The managers' optimism relies on the resilience and maturity developed during the recent years: managers are worried about current events, but they are optimistic about the future and have more confidence in their own strength. For the first time, CONFIDEX highlights a trend towards export and extreme markets of Romanian managers.
There is also an increase of confidence in the capital market: three times more Romanian managers believe that the stock market will grow. More than half of those who forecasted a decrease of stock market in 2022 have changed their mind.
The percentage of managers who trust that public investments (41% vs 24% in 2022) and private investments (28% vs 12% in 2022) will increase in the next period doubles. At the same time, only 21% of managers (compared to 43% in 2022) continue to estimate a decrease in the GDP.
What are the concerns of the Romanian managers?
The CONFIDEX study also highlights some recession risk indicators. The average turnover of CONFIDEX respondents has grown less than the inflation and is still expected to grow less than the inflation. Moreover, the companies return rate has recorded negative results for 3 years since Impetum Group runs CONFIDEX.
Access to credit and the working capital status are worsening for about a third of managers, while merger or acquisition transactions have reached a standstill during this period.
• A labour force crisis (74%) is considered more likely than an increase in inflation (62%). The forecast concerning a potential energy crisis (48%) is outrun by the likeliness of a financing (60%) or real estate crisis (57%).
”The labour force crisis originates from two areas: There is an acute shortage of skilled labour force, and there are jobs available the Romanians do not want, and nobody wants to do them. The two crises overlap, as it happened many years ago in the West, and they put pressure on Romanian managers. A primary need of the Romanian business environment is real support from the authorities to manage this labour force crisis. We can do this both through internal resources, increasing the percentage of the population that is active in the field of work, to reach the European average (69% Romania vs 75% EU) and by relaxing immigration procedures for professions that are not attractive for Romanians (from 100,000 work permits annually to at least 300,000), said Andrei Cionca, CEO of Impetum Group.
Started shortly after the beginning of the pandemic, CONFIDEX is measuring the trust Romanian managers have in the current economy and is meant to create actual landmarks and to support managers in making decisions adapted to reality. The approach is in line with Impetum Group mission to provide the business environment with resources through which entrepreneurs and managers can increase their businesses value, in addition to capital and management.
Over 3,000 managers in Romania have answered in the seven stages of research carried out so far. Respondent companies sum up to over 150,000 employees. The CONFIDEX S1 2023 Study covers a sample of about 500 companies in top 6 GDP-contributing economic sectors: agriculture; industry and electricity; constructions; trade; transport, distribution, warehousing; services. Only CEOs and C-level managers responded to the study, and among the targeted companies, 75% have a turnover of over EUR 1 million and 31% have a turnover of over EUR 5 million.
The CONFIDEX index is built by the aggregation of 29 items and measures the trust Romanian entrepreneurs and managers have in the economy, on a scale from 0 to 100 points.