According to the assessments of firms in non-construction industry and in services with more than 20 employees, turnover continued to grow in 2018, albeit at a slower pace than in 2017 owing to a less favourable foreign demand trend. Firms expect sales to increase further over the next six months.
Views of employment and profitability trends were positive yet again; as to profitability, about 80 per cent of the firms, a historically high share, expect to close the year with a profit. This is tied to a moderate increase in investment expenditure in 2018, spurred by credit supply conditions that remain accommodative. Firms’ investment plans for 2019 point to another increase in spending; rising tensions surrounding international trade should have a limited impact.
In the construction sector, assessments of production trends continued to be positive; employment fell by less than in previous years and the share of firms reporting a profit rose. Assessments of credit supply conditions improved, driven by firms with more than 500 employees. Firms’ plans for 2019 suggest further growth in production.