Category Archives: Ifo Business Climate Index

26/8/19: ifo Survey Shows Increasing Business Concerns in Germany

Ifo Institute's Business Climate indicator for Germany is falling off the cliff:

In simple terms, current business situation assessment has now fallen to its lowest reading since March 2015, forward business expectations are the lowest since June 2009, and overall Business Climate index is at its lowest reading since November 2012.

August 2019 marks fifth consecutive month of decline in the overall Business Climate index, current Business Situation index, and Business Expectations index.

Overall, the indicator is still pointing to a downturn in growth, as opposed to a recession:

The Dispersion Index - a measure of the degree of businesses-perceived uncertainty about the future direction of the economy - has now risen to the levels last seen in April 2010.

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.”

24/4/15: Business Climate: Germany and Euro Area 1Q 2015

The Ifo Business Climate Index for German trade and industry rose to 108.6 points in April from 107.9 points last month based on the latest data. Using historical time series, current reading signals growth in excess of 2%.

However, Q1 2015 was relatively weak for German indicators.

Present situation index for Germany in Q1 2015 was 112.0 against 115.2 a year ago. Expectations for the next 6 months index was 103.9 in Q1 2015 against 106.3 a year ago. Economic Climate index - overall index of activity - in Q1 2015 stood at 107.9 down on 110.6 in Q1 2014.

German performance in Q1 2015 was reflective of a similar trend in the euro area. Euro area present situation index in Q1 2015 was at 117.5 - well below 120.3 recorded in Q1 2014, while 6months forward expectations index was at 109.8 against 119.7 a year ago. Overall, euro area economic climate index finished Q1 2015 at 112.7, which was below 119.9 recorded at the end of Q1 2014.

Unless April reading signals sustained uplift for Q2 2015, things are not exactly exciting.