Slight Decline in Investments in 2001. Results of the WIFO Spring 2001 Investment Survey
According to the recent WIFO forecast, economic growth in Austria is set to decelerate from 3.3 percent in 2000 to 1.7 percent in 2001. The slowdown is mainly due to a weaker European environment which itself is the consequence of slower growth in the USA and of higher energy costs. These factors lead to a moderate 4.5 percent increase in merchandise exports in 2001. Output growth in Austrian manufacturing is slowing down considerably, production is expected to rise by only 2.7 percent in 2001, following a more than 8 percent increase last year. In line with developments of the European manufacturing industry, Austrian manufacturing firms responded with some pessimism to the recent WIFO Business survey. The European business climate indicator has been on the first time over the last two years, which points to a deteriorating confidence of industrial firms in Europe. The Austrian business indicators likewise point lower growth in the second half of 2001. Capacity utilisation rates are steadily declining, whereas inventories are on a rise. However, it is expected that these slower growth rates are of a temporary nature only, and there are favourable growth prospects in the following years. According to the recent WIFO Investment Survey, Austrian manufacturing enterprises plan to invest ATS 96.2 billion in 2001, which corresponds to a 2.5 percent increase. There are, however, substantial sectoral differences. Investment rates should be highest in the transport equipment and investment goods industries. Manufacturers of intermediate products, durable goods, food products and non-durable goods are expected to curb their investments. There are also regional differences. Whereas manufacturers in Vorarlberg and Upper Austria intend to intensify their investment spending, firms in Vienna (–12.7 percent) and Carinthia (–19.4 percent) plan on serious retrenchments. Demand in the construction sector remains weak in 2001. In its recent forecast, WIFO expects a marginal output increase of 0.5 percent. As a result, investment expenditures of the construction sector will further decrease, after construction firms reduced their investments by 3.2 percent in 2000 and plan a further reduction by 6.0 percent for 2001. The electric utilities invested ATS 10.1 billion in 2000. This amounts to a fall of 13.4 percent compared to 1999. A further reduction of investments by 15 percent is to be expected for 2001, the biggest cuts being made by the provincial and municipal utilities. Transport enterprises and other utilities (gas, water) plan to cut their investments by 13.9 percent in 2001, after an increase of 12.5 percent in 2000.
Konjunkturabschwächung in Europa beeinträchtigt Investitionsbereitschaft der Unternehmen. Ergebnisse des WIFO-Investitionstests vom Frühjahr 2001; Slight Decline in Investments in 2001. Results of the WIFO Spring 2001 Investment Survey
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