CE Barometer for February 2022

The February barometer survey was carried out during the first three weeks of March.

While the shocking events currently taking place in Ukraine have had a clear effect on this month’s barometer, it is testament to the strength of the market that the figures remain largely positive.

Comparing current levels of business with the previous month, there is even an uplift, with 40% of respondents seeing an improvement, against 37.1% in the previous barometer.

The percentage of respondents reporting a slowing of business stands at 16.9%, a fall of over 4% from the 21% of last month.

Difficult to see positives

Unfortunately, this is where the positive movement ends. As we look at confidence about next year’s business, we see a huge drop in the balance figure – from 40.3% in the previous barometer, to just 4.6% this time round. (The balance figure, by the way, is the result of those reporting better business against those reporting worse, with 0% representing parity).

Some might say the fact that the balance figure, looking a year ahead, has not moved into negative numbers is a cause for cautious optimism.

As we compare business levels now to those of a year ago, we see very little movement. Just over half (52.3%) of respondents say business has improved; this is down 2.5% on last month’s figure.

That percentage is basically added to the column of those reporting a drop in business, which is up 2.4% on last month’s figure, at 16.9%.

The overall climate figure has now fallen to 21%, down from 32.3% last month and well down on the optimistic 40+% seen towards the end of last year.

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