Business confidence rises 2.6% in the third quarter due to improved expectations


Business confidence rises 2.6% in the third quarter due to improved expectations

22.2% of companies expect their business to progress favorably between July and September, the highest figure since March 2018

The Harmonized Business Confidence Indicator (ICEA), published by the National Institute of Statistics (INE), rose 2.6% in the third quarter of this year compared to the second, thus chaining three quarters of growth, which It had not happened since the fourth quarter of 2021.

The increase in business confidence registered for the July-September period is exclusively due to the improvement in the expectations indicator.

Specifically, the balance of expectations (difference between the opinions of optimistic and pessimistic businessmen) stood at 5.2 points in the third quarter of this year, the highest since the second quarter of 2019.

This is due to the fact that the percentage of business establishments that think that the progress of their business will be favorable between July and September of this year has stood at 22.2%, its highest percentage since the third quarter of 2018.

In contrast, those who think that their business will evolve unfavorably in the third quarter have fallen from 17.2% in the previous quarter to 17%, while the proportion of businessmen who expect a "normal" evolution of your business, from 62.2% to 60.8%.


For its part, the balance sheet (difference between favorable and unfavorable responses compared to the quarter that ended) has improved compared to the previous quarter, going from -1.5 points in the second quarter to 6.9 points in the third.

This positive view of the current situation is the result of the increase in business establishments who believe that their business has evolved favorably in the last three months and the increase in those who believe that it behaved positively.

Thus, regarding the last quarter that has already ended (second quarter of 2023), the ICEA shows that 22.6% of business establishments have a favorable opinion of how their business worked in those three months, compared to 15.7% of establishments that have appreciated an unfavorable evolution in this period and 61.7% who speak of normality. These percentages were 19%, 15.7% and 61.7%, respectively, in the previous quarter.

The ICEA, which is published quarterly and is comparable at a European level, is drawn up from a representative sample of business establishments.

During the third quarter of this year, business confidence rose in all economic sectors, in all company sizes, and in all autonomous communities.


Thus, according to Statistics data, of the five economic sectors analyzed, the one that increased confidence the most in the third quarter was transport and hospitality (5.1%), followed by construction (3%), trade ( 2.2%), industry (2.1%) and other services (1.9%).

Regarding the size of the establishments, confidence increased in all of them. The greatest advances in confidence occurred in companies with 200 to 999 employees (4.4%) and in those with 10 to 49 workers (2.7%). In establishments with less than 10 workers, confidence rose 2.3%, and in those with 50 to 199 employees and in those with a thousand or more, 2.2% and 0.7%, respectively.

By communities, business confidence rose in all regions, especially in Extremadura (5.2%), Castilla y León (5%), Cantabria (4.9%) and La Rioja (4.7%).

The most moderate increases in business confidence in the third quarter occurred in Murcia (1.5%), the Canary Islands and Catalonia (1.1%), Madrid (0.6%) and Castilla-La Mancha, where it rose by 0.2%

For the elaboration of this indicator, the OECD, the German Ifo and, above all, the Japanese Tankan, prepared by the Central Bank of the Japanese country, are taken as methodological reference.