Business Outlook Survey of Industrial and Service Firms, No. 56 - 2012Supplements to the Statistical Bulletin - Sample Surveys

Between 21 September and 22 October 2012 the branches of the Bank of Italy conducted the 20th business outlook survey, interviewing 4,151 firms with at least 20 workers, of which 2,918 industrial firms (excluding construction) and 1,233 non-financial private service firms. As in past years, the survey also covered a sample of 516 construction firms with at least 20 workers.

Main results

Firms in industry (excluding construction) and services

  • almost 60 per cent of firms confirm that investment spending in 2012 as a whole is in line with the level planned at the beginning of the year; the balance between firms reporting an increase with respect to planned investment and those reporting a decrease is negative (-20 percentage points)
  • investment plans for 2013 are again dominated by caution: firms planning a lower level of investment than in 2012 outnumber those planning an increase by about 14 percentage points
  • 32.9 per cent of industrial firms believe that installed production capacity in Italy has dropped below the level of the most recent peak in output, while 16.3 per cent estimate it has increased
  • the balance between firms reporting an increase in their demand for bank loans and those reporting a decrease is narrower than in the spring (down from 17 to 12.5 percentage points), but is expected to widen slightly in the future (14.4 points)
  • the balance between firms reporting an increase and those reporting a decrease in sales revenue in the first nine months of the year compared with the same period in 2011 is negative (-28 percentage points, against +14 points in 2011)
  • according to almost 50 per cent of firms employment is generally stationary compared with 2011, while most of the other half report a decline
  • there is an increase in the use of Wage Supplementation compared with 2011, with about a third of industrial firms making applications against 21.8 per cent in 2011. Demand is greatest among large corporations
  • about half of firms expect to close the year with a profit, while 30.2 per cent expect to record a loss; the balance between the two has reached a record low
  • 7 per cent of firms expect to open or expand new factories/facilities in 2013, either in Italy or abroad. About 2.5 per cent of firms predict closures and downsizings abroad, while 7.8 per cent believe that facilities in Italy will be affected.

Construction firms

  • 16.2 per cent of firms report an increase in the value of production in 2012 compared with 2011, against 62.2 per cent that report a decrease (respectively 20.9 and 51 per cent in last year’s survey)
  • the outlook for the value of production in 2013 points to a reduction (the balance between firms predicting an increase and those expecting a decrease is -24.1 percentage points).

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