Hope and Despair
Business Today|January 24, 2021
Corporate Leaders Expect Economic Recovery To Take Over A Year As The Pandemic Continues To Affect Businesses, Finds The Latest Business Today’s Business Confidence Index Survey
MANU KAUSHIK

First things first! Business Confidence Index (BCI) has changed. For over nine years since BCI started, the survey has set the benchmark for gauging the mood of corporate India. But to improve upon the survey, we have tweaked the methodology in the latest survey. The good news is that in a sea of similar confidence surveys (most of which were commissioned after Business Today’s BCI), the new methodology has raised the game by measuring the sentiments with sheer precision.

The bad news is that corporate India seems to remain largely despondent about their business prospects and economy per se. On a scale of 100, BCI fell sharply to 43.8, its lowest point ever, as compared to 48.2 in the previous quarter and 47 in the quarter before that. Market research agency C fore quizzed 500 CEOs and chief financial officers across 12 cities for the survey.

“In September and October, the sentiments had picked up a bit due to demand boom around the festive period. Corporate sector is not sure whether it was pent-up demand which got released or will it sustain over a period of time. People have again turned cautious due to uncertainty in the global and domestic markets. Inflation is rising due to surge in commodity prices, exporters are worried about the second wave of infections, and there’s a general uncertainty around the Budget,” says Abheek Barua, chief economist, HDFC Bank.

The survey shows that the respondents were pessimistic about the quarter (OctDec) that just went by. For instance, on a scale of 1 to 10, most respondents gave a rating below five on all five parameters: overall economic conditions, financial situation, demand conditions, hiring conditions, and profit margins. In case of hiring conditions, where respondents were most pessimistic, they gave average rating of 4.1.

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