Economic Tendency Survey December 2023

Tough times for construction

The Economic Tendency Indicator dropped back again marginally in December from 84.9 to 84.3. A historically high proportion of construction firms reported decreased activity over the past three months, and their production plans have not been as pessimistic since 1996. Prices are expected to rise in all parts of the business sector other than construction, where firms still expect them to fall.

The confidence indicator for the manufacturing industry dropped 4 points to 95.1, the lowest since early in the pandemic in summer 2020. The decrease was due primarily to a downturn in capital goods. Non-durable consumer goods also fell, while intermediates moved in the other direction.

The confidence indicator for the building and civil engineering industry fell 1.4 points to 89.9.

The confidence indicator for the retail trade climbed 3.8 points to 92.1, thanks to firms being less negative about sales volumes over the past three months. They were also slightly more positive about sales over the coming three months.

The confidence indicator for the service sector climbed to 85.3, but this remains the most pessimistic part of the business sector. The increase was due mainly to firms’ expectations for demand over the next three months.

The consumer confidence indicator climbed to 74.5, chiefly as a consequence of consumers being less negative about the outlook for the Swedish economy over the next 12 months. Consumers’ expectations for the economy have recovered gradually since bottoming out in September 2022 and are now close to normal levels.