Economic Trends from a Business Point of View (March 2023)

Optimism in anticipation of an (economic) counteroffensive — the results of the 11th wave of the new monthly enterprise survey in March 2023

On April 13, 2023, the Institute for Economic Research and Policy Consulting ” (IER), within the project “Support of the Public Initiative “For Fair and Transparent Customs,” held an online event “Economic trends from the business point of view (March 2023)”.

The results of the Eleventh monthly survey of enterprise managers, “Ukrainian business in wartime,” conducted in March 2023 were presented at the event.

In March, the business activity at enterprises significantly improved, the optimism of enterprise managers increased, and uncertainty decreased – these are the main results of the eleventh wave of the new monthly enterprise survey, the presentation of which took place on March 14, 2023.

According to Oksana Kuziakiv, executive director at IER, “this month’s results gave the impression of preparing an “economic counteroffensive” and “the dynamics of changes in production indicators and expectations pleasantly surprised with optimism.”

The survey results showed that in March 2023, compared to February 2023, the share of enterprises that planned to increase production in the next three-four months increased from 49.1% to 60.1%, and the number of those planning to reduce production in the coming months decreased from 5.0% in February to 3.8% in March. Also, the highest share of enterprises operating at near full and full capacity for the entire period of the monthly survey (since May 2022) was recorded — 52%. Among them, 5% of enterprises operated at full capacity, and the share of companies operating at near full capacity (more than 75%), increased to 47%.

The rating of obstacles to doing business in March 2023 continued to be headed by the “rising prices for raw materials and supplies.” The effect of electricity, water, or heat supply that lasted for the first two months decreased. In March, this obstacle moved to second place in the ranking, and the share of respondents who considered it a problem also fell from 68% to 46%.

Evhen Angel, a senior research fellow at IER, noted during the presentation that only 28% of enterprises temporarily suspended work due to power outages in February, which confirms “a significant improvement in the situation with access to electricity.”

The survey results show that, in the opinion of businesses, it has become less unsafe to work. The share of enterprises that chose “unsafe to work” as an obstacle to doing business decreased from 40% to 31%, and in the ranking of obstacles, the problem of “unsafe work” dropped from fourth to sixth place. “Although significant regional differences are still observed here, in general, this fact is encouraging for economic recovery,” noted Oksana Kuziakiv.

During the presentation, experts drew attention to the dynamics of exports. 62% of respondents were exporters before the war or started exporting during the war, according to the results of the March survey; 13% of exporters were unable to resume export activities during the war. “Micro-businesses still face greater challenges,” emphasized Yevhen Angel, “42% of micro-enterprises did not export in the last 12 months.”

For reference: The field stage of the survey took place from March 15 to 31, 2023; telephone interviews were conducted with representatives of 580 companies of all sizes located in 22 out of 27 regions of Ukraine.

The new monthly enterprise survey has been conducted by the IER since May 2022 as part of the “Economic Analytics during Wartime” direction, which is part of the “Support for the Public Initiative “For Fair and Transparent Customs” project, financed by the European Union and co-financed by the International Renaissance Foundation and Atlas Network.

The video recording of the presentation is available at:

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