The 31st Annual Eurochambres Economic Survey (EES2024) launched on 9 November 2023 by EUROCHAMBRES reflects a period of transition and adaptation to the new economic realities driven by geopolitical instability and global market challenges. BCCI is a partner of EUROCHAMBRES in the survey for the consecutive 25th time.
Business confidence in Europe is recovering, albeit warily in view of the ongoing global and regional economic challenges. Concerns about access to energy and raw materials, shortages in skilled workers and labor costs are some of the key challenges according to feedback from 43,000 companies in 27 European countries, including 795 representatives of the Bulgarian business.
The results of the survey for Bulgaria reveal more favorable attitude regarding the main economic indicators. Domestic sales are expected to rise, while in the sales in foreign markets and the employment levels the trend is more towards stagnation. Considering the employment forecasts, 48% of the companies expect a hold-up and 41% of them are looking forward to strengthening of the labour market. In the context of the business climate, Bulgarian entrepreneurs express their confidence and feel less pessimistic for 2024 compared to the previous year 2023. More than 54% have positive expectations for the overall development of the business compared to 2023. This positive attitude is also backed by the prospect of getting support from the National Recovery and Resilience Plan.
Despite the challenges of rising wages and production costs and the uncertainty about supply chains and economic chances, Bulgarian entrepreneurs are keeping the faith.
Global economy is facing the significant risk of geopolitical instability, particularly in relation to the war in Ukraine and the situation in the Middle East. These factors could adversely affect the supply of raw materials, disrupt global supply chains and increase international prices, which would surely damage both domestic demand and foreign trade in Bulgaria.
Bulgarian companies outline as key challenges for 2024 the lack of qualified personnel and the increased labor costs, as well as the financial conditions of doing business. Sustainable development requirements have not yet been identified by the Bulgarian entrepreneurs as a major challenge, but for some European countries the issue is just round the corner.
According to the BCCI, economic advancement in Bulgaria in 2024 could be achieved by stimulating the domestic demand and managing the labor market. It is vital to foster domestic investment and consumption in view of both the demographic challenges and the need for labor force mobility. Just the same, the central bank and the government should actively monitor and manage inflationary pressures to ensure price stability.
The second focus should be on the management of the foreign trade and the geopolitical risks. Sustainable economic growth needs measures that would address the impact of global volatility, particularly in the context of energy security and commodity chains.
For the third year in a row access to energy and raw materials, as well as labor costs will remain the key challenges facing the EU.
Key EES2024 policy messages:
The EUROCHAMBRES Economic Survey has been published for 31 consecutive years. It is the largest of its kind. Companies from all sectors answered a series of questions about how they expect to perform in 2024 in terms of domestic and export sales, the workforce, business confidence and overall investment.