Business optimism increased in February 2022 compared to January 2022, according to an ongoing survey by Verdict, as supply chain disruptions eased and Covid-19 cases declined.
Verdict conducted the poll to study trends in business optimism during Covid-19, as evidenced by companies’ opinions on their prospects for future growth amid the pandemic.
Analysis of poll responses recorded in February 2022 shows that optimism about future growth prospects increased by two percentage points to 62%, from 60% in January 2022.
Optimistic respondents rose two percentage points to 27% in February, while very optimistic respondents remained unchanged at 35%.
Respondents who were pessimistic fell three percentage points to 9%, while those who were very pessimistic rose two percentage points to 16% in February.
The percentage of neutral respondents (neither optimistic nor pessimistic) fell by one percentage point to 13%.
The analysis is based on 368 responses received from readers of Verdict Network sites between February 01 and February 28, 2022.
Falling Covid-19 cases and easing supply chain bottlenecks restored business optimism in February
Business conditions and sentiment in Australia improved in February 2022, with 37% of businesses experiencing supply chain disruptions, up from 47% in January 2022, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. Additionally, less than 15% of employers reported staff absenteeism due to Covid-19 during the month, compared to 22% in January. In addition, about 23% of businesses reported a drop in revenue in February compared to 41% in January.
Business sentiment in Italy also rose from 105.3 in January to 108.2 in February, according to the IESI (Istat Economic Sentiment Indicator). The increase was driven by higher confidence in construction activities, employment planning and expectations, and market services.
German business confidence rose despite the Ukraine crisis, with the ifo business climate index rising to 98.9 points in February from 96.0 points in January. Companies are more satisfied with their business performance, with a marked improvement in expectations. The economic recovery, however, depends on the end of the Covid-19 pandemic, while the Ukrainian crisis should pose risks to growth.
Short-term and long-term Canadian small business confidence also rose significantly in February, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB) Business Barometer.® Short term index showing a 16 point gain in business performance to 53.8 and the long term optimism index rising eight points to 62.5. All sectors reported some improvement, with 24% of businesses looking to hire workers. However, the economy appeared to be long-lasting affected by supply chain disruptions, limiting production or sales growth.
India saw an increase in business activity in February, with service firms recording larger gains in sales and output on the back of a faster rise in new orders. As a result, India’s service business activity index fell from 52.8 in January to 55.3 in February. The rapid rollout of Covid-19 vaccines over the same period has also helped boost business optimism and business growth prospects.
Business confidence has hit its highest level in five months at 44% in the UK, according to Lloyds Bank’s latest business barometer. The survey was carried out between February 1 and 15, 2022, just before Covid-19 restrictions were lifted across the UK. Ten of the 12 regions reported an improvement in business confidence, with the North East reaching a level of 57%, up 17 points. Business optimism has also improved across all sectors, particularly construction, retail and manufacturing, which have reached levels not seen since the pre-pandemic period.
The IHS Markit Saudi Arabia Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) also rose for the first time since September 2021, from 53.2 in January 2022 to 56.2 in February 2022. Business confidence and Customer demand improved in Saudi Arabia’s non-oil private sector during the month leading to greater expansion in production, procurement and new business.