Deloitte: Managers from Central and Eastern Europe expect an increase in the price of loans and in the provisions for NPLs

The majority of the chief financial officers (CFOs) in Central and Eastern Europe expect increase in the price of loans this year, according to the results of the annual Deloitte Central Europe CFO survey. The survey is held among more than 600 CFOs from 15 countries and reflects their sentiment and expectations for the economy over the next 12 months to three years. The study was conducted between October and December 2021 and does not reflect subsequent events.

According to the survey, a more than half of the CFОs expect the companies to increase their provisions for non-perfoming loans (NPLs). The largest share of these sentiments is in the manufacturing sector, followed by construction and real estates.

The share of companies, expect to improve their ability to pay their debts on time over the next three years is also rising – by 4 percentage points to 42%. Similarly, the number of those who don’t expect a change in this respect is declining – 50% of respondents predict that their ability to pay will remain unchanged, compared to 55% in 2021. Last year and this year the share of experts, who expect deterioration in payments remained unchanged – 8% in both years.

The most pessimistic respondents are in the sectors “Business and professional services”, in life sciences, as well as in energy, utilities and mining. The optimists are in the consumer sector, financial services, technology, media and communications. There is interesting responds in the construction industry – as many as 23% expect a deterioration in the ability to pay on time.

Similar to 2020 and 2021, CFOs this year see internal financing and bank lending as the most attractive sources of capital. Financing with securities and corporate debt remain much less attractive, while there is still an increase in interest in securities.

Viewed by the countries, the bank loan is most preferred by managers in Slovenia, Slovakia and Estonia, and least attractive in Bulgaria and the Czech Republic. Issuance of securities would be used mainly by companies from Lithuania and Latvia, and corporate debt – in Slovenia, Kosovo, Bulgaria. Internal financing is most attractive in Lithuania and Slovenia.

Overall, CFOs are more optimistic this year – the Economic Confidence Index has returned to 44%, from 26% in 2021. Higher forecasts for GDP growth in the region and lower expectations for growth in unemployment (33% vs. 68% in 2021) contributes to more optimism, notes the experts of Deloitte.

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