Gloomy times for Swedish exports– Export Managers’ Index, fourth quarter 2023
On November 9, 2023, Business Sweden published the report “Gloomy times for Swedish exports- Export Managers’ Index, fourth quarter 2023” conducted by Statistics Sweden (SCB). This report is a key indicator of Sweden’s economic development. Unfortunately, the report conveys a pessimistic outlook, as the Index dropped to 44.4 from 46.7 in the previous quarter, the lowest since the pandemic’s outbreak. The level has only been lower three times before, which happened during the financial crisis of 2008/2009 and the following European debt crisis in 2012. The decline is primarily driven by a decrease in the current subindex, falling from 50.7 in Q3 to 44.3 in Q4. Despite this, the forward-looking subindex shows a modest rise from 42.8 in Q3 to 44.5 in Q4, indicating a slightly improved outlook for the next three months. As both subindices are below the 50-mark, it is an indication that the export companies have a gloomy view of the development. Distinct for these results are that the view on the present times has become worse, while the outlook on a three-month horizon has become better in comparison with previous surveys’ results.
The level for the view of current export sales also fell from 54.5 in Q3 to 44.2 in Q4 as well as the one for export order stocks declining from 45.7 in the previous quarter to 38.5 in quarter four. The index also showed that the view of profitability of export sales fell by 1.8 points compared to the previous quarter to 50.1 in Q4. These results highlight that the export companies have a gloomy perception about export sales and export order stocks, but a more neutral view of the profitability of export sales. On a three-month horizon, the level, however, increased for both the view on expected export sales and the profitability of export sales, and both indexes are close to the 50 mark, which suggests a more neutral view when looking forward.
Notably, the Index is below 50 in Western-, Central-, and Eastern Europe, indicating a more pessimistic outlook compared to other regions in the world. In summary, while current conditions are perceived negatively, companies express a more confident outlook for the future.
Read the full report here.