Business conditions during the coming six months are seen as even more favorable than in the latest survey in fall 2017. However, the rise in optimism is continuing to lose momentum, which is not surprising given that optimism has risen for four consecutive surveys. This has only happened once before, soon after the financial crisis.
Given the stock market turmoil which started in early February and − closer to home − the troubles in the Swedish housing market which started around October 2017, we are happy to see that the much-feared setback in optimism did not occur. Even more reassuringly, Construction was actually the third most optimistic sector. Including the other questions in the survey, this sector does not seem overly concerned about recent developments – if anything Construction sector CFOs are coming down from an extremely positive environment to a more normal one, but they perceive no crisis in any way.
Regarding financial prospects (for which we amended the question slightly to adjust to the larger European survey) we note that Swedish CFOs are more optimistic about their financial prospects now than three months earlier. However they are less optimistic than their Nordic and EU peers. One explanation for lagging behind their international peers might be that Sweden is coming from a situation of relatively high economic growth, while in many other EU and Nordic countries growth still is rising but is not yet at such a high level as in Sweden.