Category Archives: Ifo business climate

24/6/20: German Business Sentiment for June: Mixed Signs of the Ongoing Recovery

Germany's ifo Institute published June survey results for business confidence, reflecting the latest changes arising from the graduate, but fast, 'normalization' of economic activities. There are some improvements in forward expectations, set against virtually no improvement in current conditions:

The gap between pre-COVID19 and current conditions sentiment remains massive, with trough to current reading improvement of just 2.4 points, compared to the pre-crisis to trough fall of 20.2 points. Expectations (6 months forward) gains 11.9 points on the trough, with pre-crisis to trough decline of 21.5 points. This implies that forward expectations are now just over half-way into recovering pre-COVID19 levels, but current conditions assessment still shows dire state of the economy.

So far, current conditions dynamics do not suggest a V-shaped recovery, but there is some hope in terms of expectations. Manufacturing and construction sectors dominate negative outlook. Services sectors current assessment is matched by forward expectations, while trade sectors are showing more robust recovery across the board.

27/5/20: Germany: Employment and Business Activity Show Gentle Uptick in May

Germany employment conditions improved slightly in May, based on ifo Institute survey:

The gains are in line with the Business Activity survey results:

However, both business expectations (major driver of improvement) and current conditions (remaining deeply under water and actually still deteriorating in May) are well below 2009 crisis reading:

24/4/20: "Sentiment at German companies is catastrophic" ifo Institute

ifo Institute's German business sentiment barometer out today. Direct quote: "Sentiment at German companies is catastrophic. The ifo Business Climate Index crashed from 85.9 points in March to 74.3 points in April. This is the lowest value ever recorded, and never before has the index fallen so drastically. This is primarily due to the massive deterioration in the current\ situation. Companies have never been so pessimistic about the coming months. The coronavirus crisis is striking the German economy with full fury."
Here's the bigger kicker: Expectations plunged more over the last 3 months than current situation assessments, down from 93.8 in December 2019 to 69.4 in April 2020, as compared to the current situation index drop from 98.8 to 79.5 over the same period.

Two key sectors: woeful dynamics

5/2/16: Ifo Economic Climate Index for Euro area: 1Q 2016

Ifo Economic Climate Index in the Euro Area has posted another contraction at the start of 1Q 2016 marking the third consecutive quarter of declines and reaching the lowest level since 1Q 2015. IFO Economic Climate Index (the headline index for the series) for the Euro area fell to 118.9 in 1Q 2016 from 122.0 in 4Q 2015. Activity signalled by the index, however, remains above the historical average at 107.5 an well above downturns-consistent average of 84.8.

The chart below shows index trends:

As highlighted in the chart above, EU Commission own sentiment index for economic activity is also pointing to weakening growth conditions in 1Q 2015. The EU Commission Sentiment Index was un a divergence to the Ifo index since the start of 2015.

Two core components of the Index also moderated in 1Q 2016. Present Situation sub-index fell from 153.8 for 4Q 2015 to 151.0 in 1Q 2016, marking the first quarter of contraction after four consecutive quarters of increases. The sub-index remains firmly ahead of the historical average of 127.5.

Perhaps the most worrying is the decline in Expectations for the next 6 months sub-index which fell from 103.3 in 4Q 2015 to 100.0 in 1Q 2016. This marks third consecutive quarter of declines in expectations and the index level currently is closer to the historical average of 95.8.

Overall, the gap between expectations forward and present conditions assessment has declined. Gap index (my own calculation) is now at 66.2 for 1Q 2016 against 67.2 in 4Q 2015. This suggests that weaker expectations are now starting to feed through to weaker present assessments.

A chart below illustrates the trends for sub-indices:

Per Ifo release: “Assessments of the current economic situation were most negative in Greece and Finland, but the current economic situation also remains strained in France, Italy and Cyprus. The situation was only slightly better in Spain, Portugal and Austria; but assessments for Austria were far less negative than last quarter. The sharpest recovery was seen in Ireland, where survey participants assessed the current economic situation as very good. In Germany the economic situation is considered to be good, although assessments were somewhat less favourable than last quarter.

The six-month economic outlook remains positive nearly everywhere. Economic expectations brightened in Austria, France, the Netherlands, Estonia and Latvia. In the other countries the outlook either remains unchanged, or is somewhat less positive. WES experts were only slight pessimistic about Greece, Portugal and Spain.”

15/11/15: Ifo World Economic Climate Indicator 4Q

Ifo’s World Economic Climate Indicator for 4Q 2015 released recently shows further deterioration in global economic growth conditions, despite all the optimism talk in Europe and the U.S.

Ifo’s headline World Economic Climate index posted a reading of 89.6 for 4Q 2015, down on 95.9 in 3Q 2015 and below 95.0 rearing for 4Q 2014.This is the lowest reading since 4Q 2012 and is well below the 2012-present average of 94.7 and the historical average of 95.0. 4Q 2015 marks second consecutive quarter of declines in index reading.

In terms of key components of the headline index:

  • Present Situation index fell to a low of 86.0 in 4Q 2015 from already unimpressive 87.9 reading in 3Q 2015. This marks the lowest reading since 1Q 2013 and the second consecutive quarterly decline in the index. 
  • Expectations 6 months forward sub-index was down at 93.0 in 4Q 2015 from 103.5 in 3Q 2015 and is below 98.2 reading for 4Q 2014. The index reading is the lowest since 4Q 2012 and is down on 102.1 average reading for the period starting with 1Q 2012. Historical average for the sub-index is at 99.2 which is well above the 4Q 2015 reading.

In summary, global economic activity is once again showing signs of weakness with negative momentum not abating, but accelerating into 4Q 2015 despite massive glut of monetary liquidity and despite sharp reduction in energy costs.