Economic Tendency Survey March 2021

Confidence propped up by strong manufacturing industry

The Economic Tendency Indicator climbed from 103.8 in February to 105.3 in March and thus continues to show stronger sentiment than normal in the economy. It is, however, exclusively strong signals from manufacturing that are keeping the indicator above the historical average.

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry climbed further in March and is now well above the historical average. The indicator’s high levels are due particularly to firms’ positive view of both their stocks and their order books.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry gained 1.2 points, thanks mainly to firms being more positive about their order books.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade fell 3.2 points, chiefly as a result of weaker expectations for sales, especially among food retailers.

The confidence indicator for the service sector rose marginally in March and still points to a weaker situation than normal. The increase in the indicator came from the question about demand in recent months. One particularly hard-hit segment over the past year has been hotels and restaurants, where sentiment remains very weak despite the indicator for the segment climbing 13 points since November.

The consumer confidence indicator was unchanged at 97.1 in March, with only minor changes to the various questions. Negativity about the performance of the Swedish economy over the past year, and about whether now is a good time to make major purchases, continues to keep the indicator below the historical average.