PKS: Businessmen estimate that the market is stable, they see the increase in prices as a challenge

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Serbian businessmen assessed that the situation on the labor market is stable, most expect growth or unchanged level of turnover of services and goods, and they are moderately optimistic when it comes to increasing exports in the first quarter of this year and plan higher investments, the Chamber of Commerce survey showed “Business activity of economic entities in the Republic of Serbia”, it was published.

The survey, in which 1,571 companies evaluated their business in the fourth quarter of last year and expressed expectations for the first quarter of this year, showed that both high resource prices and demand in the domestic market represent challenges facing most economies in early 2022.

Input costs in the last quarter of 2021 increased by 72% of respondents compared to the third quarter of last year, mostly in the wood industry and agriculture, the PKS announced.

More than half of the respondents expect the business climate to remain unchanged in the first quarter of this year, a quarter to improve it, and 23 percent expect a worse business climate compared to the last quarter of last year.

Most companies kept or even increased the number of employees in the fourth quarter of last year, and 92% of the surveyed companies do not expect a decrease in the number of employees in the first quarter of this year either.

When it comes to traffic, most expect a positive trend to continue in the first quarter of this year – as many as 61 percent expect higher or unchanged turnover.

Also, businessmen expect an increase in exports in the first three months of this year, and three quarters the same or increased volume of imports compared to the end of 2021.

The results of the survey show that 87 percent of companies are planning a higher or the same level of investments compared to last year, mostly in construction facilities and land, imported and domestic equipment.

The SCC believes that the fact that 78 percent of the respondents indicated that they have enough funds for optimal financing of business is encouraging, and when it comes to liquidity, the biggest challenge is tourism and catering, wood industry and communal activities.

Last year, the companies used their own funds for business the most – 80 percent of companies, and 17 percent of loans, it is stated in the announcement.

Incentives of state institutions and local self-governments were used by 40% of companies.

The surveyed companies employ more than 285,000 workers, and according to the data from the financial reports for 2020, they generated 21.7 billion euros in revenue, N1 reports.