Survey Reveals Positive Outlook on Economy

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Nume Ekeghe

The March 2020 Business Expectations Survey Report by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has revealed respondents’ optimism on the macroeconomy in March.

The report posted on the CBN’s website, showed that the survey was conducted between March 9th and 13th, 2020 with a sample size of 1,050 businesses nationwide.

According to the report, a response rate of 92.8 per cent was achieved, and the sample covered the agric/services, manufacturing, wholesale/retail trade, and construction sectors.

The respondent firms were made up of small, medium and large corporations covering both import- and export-oriented businesses.

It also stated that the business outlook for April, May and September 2020 showed greater confidence in the economy, with 48.3, 45.4, and 50.3 index points, respectively.

The optimism on the macro economy in the current month was driven by the opinion of respondents from manufacturing (3.3 points) agric/services (2.5 points), construction (0.7 point) and wholesale/retail trade sectors (0.1 point).

However, the major drivers of the optimism for next month were agric/services (25.9 points), manufacturing (17.6 points), wholesale/retail trade (3.8 points) and construction (1.0 points) sectors. Similarly, the order of sectoral optimism recorded in the next month remained unchanged for the next two to six months.

Further analysis showed that businesses that were neither import- nor export-oriented (3.9 points), both import- and export-oriented (1.8 points), export-related (0.5 point), and those that are import-oriented (0.3 point) drove the positive business outlook in March 2020.

“All sectors expressed optimism on own operations in the review month. Respondents from the agric/services sector expressed the greatest optimism on own operations, with an index of 7.7 points, followed by the manufacturing sector with 5.6 points, the wholesale/retail trade with 1.1 points, while the construction sector had 0.8 point.

“Respondents’ outlook on the volume of total order and business activity in March 2020 remained positive, at 11.5 and 45.4 points, respectively. Similarly, the outlook on financial conditions (working capital) and average capacity utilization remained positive as the indices stood at 15.2 and 19.8 index points, respectively,” it added.

The employment outlook index by sector showed that the construction sector had the highest prospect for employment in the next month, with an index of (30 points) followed by wholesale/retail trade (25.8 points), manufacturing sector (23.7 points) and agric/services sector (22.8 points).