Business Forecasts for 2018
- Business Forecast 2018 (presentation)
- Foreign Investor Survey, Second Round (presentation)
- Press release on barriers to business
In August, we asked key Ukrainian investors about their expectations regarding the state of the country’s economy in 2018. We conduct this research every year on the eve of the active autumn business season to understand how the EBA member companies plan their business activities. Thus, EBA Business Forecast 2018 includes assessments of the development prospects for their own business, as well as the company’s vision of the future in 2018 against the background of the global economy. Most respondents who shared their views with us work in the service sector – 37%, as well as manufacturing – 27%, construction – 7%, mining – 3%, and other sectors.
- Quite a significant percentage – 86% of respondents– confirmed that they expect a positive business growth dynamicin 2018;
- The majority of respondents – 58% (last time there were 46%) do not plan new investment projects for 2018, but at the same time 23% (45% – last year) plan to launch new projects next year;
- The majority (29%) still consider the fight against corruptionto be the priority for the Government;
- Most executives 58%have already planned to increasethe company’s staff. 9% – will reduce staff in 2018;
- The vast majority – 40% of respondentspredict an increase in salaries for available employees by 5-10%;
- Similar to last year, 57% of respondents set the exchange rate27-28 UAH for 1 USD when planning the budget for 2018.
TRENDS OF BUSINESS ACTIVITIES
This year’s results showed that a very high percentage of respondents (86%, compared to 74% last year) expect positive business growth dynamics.
At the same time, 34% of managers forecast an income increase in hryvnia by 6-10%, another 15% talk about an increase in income by 20-30%, almost 6% expected growth of more than 30%. Although last year the sentiment was more optimistic, as there was a small percentage (almost 4%) of respondents seeking the growth of 50% or more. The respondents undoubtedly took into account the level of inflation in their calculations.
According to the top managers of EBA member companies, the projected profitability of companies in dollar terms is as follows: the majority of respondents (about 23%) believe that business profitability in 2018 will increase by 10%; another 21% may increase to 20%.
We also learned about investors’ forecasts for profit growth in physical terms for 2018. Accordingly, the largest percentage of respondents (about 40%) expect the growth to 10%, another 16% say the growth to 20% is maximum. And only 7% believe that such growth will not happen at all. For comparison – only 6% of respondents admitted to the income growth by 30% or more in physical terms.
We traditionally asked directors about the barriers that significantly impede the planning of their business activities and development in Ukraine.
Interestingly, this year the business community considers that the fight against corruption and the need for judicial reform is equally important as the priorities for the Government: 29% and 26% respectively. For several seasons in a row, corruption has always been the absolute leader among the negative factors.
The respondents also emphasized other factors:
17% – tax and customs reform
12.5% - political stability and effective management
4% – energy independence and energy efficiency
2% – reduction of government spending
PAY AND EMPLOYMENT
As most respondents hope for positive business growth dynamics, there is a strong tendency to expand the number of employees in many companies. This sentiment is reflected in the results of our survey: almost 67% of respondents admitted that in 2018 they will hire new employees, 34% will stick to the current number of staff, and only 9% of executives are likely to lay off staff in the next calendar year.
Compared to last year’s results, we see optimistic sentiments this year in terms of wages. Thus, 40% of respondents plan to increase the level of salaries from 10% to 20%, another 37% hope to increase salaries by 5-10%, and 10% – by 5%, and a very small percentage – only 3% of respondents refuse to raise wages.
We see that the overall picture is optimistic because this year 86% of respondents expect positive dynamics in the growth of their businesses in Ukraine. At the same time, some percentages fell to a lesser extent, which means that investors take a more moderate approach in planning business activities in Ukrainian realities. Certain stability is reflected in the constant exchange rate used by the top managers of our member companies. Last year′s trend to increase staff and raise staff salaries also remained positive. Time will tell whether the expectations of the business community will come true. Our goal, for now, is to remove barriers that hinder the business and deter potential investors.