Economic Tendency Survey April 2023

Fewer food retailers expect selling prices to rise

The Economic Tendency Indicator fell slightly from 88.4 to 87.3 in April, which means that sentiment in the economy is still much weaker than normal. In the business sector, only the construction indicator gained ground. The consumer indicator also climbed for a fourth straight month.

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry fell in April but remains somewhat stronger than normal. It is a very mixed picture, however, with very strong indicators in some industries, such as automotive and electronics, while the food industry, for example, is much more downbeat than normal.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry climbed 3.3 points to 99.2. Expectations for the construction market over the next year bounced back relatively strongly in April after being at their most negative for 30 years in the previous two quarterly surveys.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade fell and continues to show much weaker sentiment than normal. Far fewer retailers than before expect selling prices to rise over the next three months. The biggest change was among food retailers, with only just over half now anticipating higher prices, and slightly more than one in five expecting prices to fall.

The confidence indicator for the service sector fell 1.6 points to 90.3. Almost half of firms cited weak demand as a constraint on their business. The next most common limiting factor is labour shortages, which were reported by a quarter of firms.

The consumer confidence indicator climbed 1.3 points in April from 63.8 to 65.1, due mainly to improved expectations for both personal finances and the Swedish economy.