Written by Tünde Tancsics and Dóra Barát – ELTINGA-EECFA Research
The European Commission’s 2023 Spring economic forecast for EECFA countries was showing some changes in outlook in comparison with Autumn 2022. Economic growth prospects improved in most countries in Spring 2023, excluding Serbia where growth expectations slightly fell against Autumn 2022. The EU and the Euro area growth prospects were outperformed in all countries surveyed – apart from Russia.
Projected economic growth in 2023-2024 was positive in all countries, although to varying degrees. It was over 3% in Türkiye and Romania (3.75% and 3.35%, respectively), but also above 2% in Serbia (2.45%) despite the downturn in expectations since Autumn 2022. GDP growth in other EECFA countries and Hungary (which is a Euroconstruct member) was projected to be between 1.5% and 2%, above both the EU and the Euro area averages of 1.35%. In Russia, growth forecast turned from negative to positive, but it was still close to zero: at just 0.2%.
Gross fixed capital formation data shows that growth projections for 2023-2024 were rather mixed, both in terms of direction and in the magnitude of change. Expected GFCF growth in Spring 2023 was by far the highest in Romania (7.5%), while in the Euroconstruct member Hungary, it was anticipated to decrease by 0.7%; a larger decline than the 0.2% contraction estimated in Autumn 2022. In Russia, a 0.4% growth was forecasted in Spring 2023, instead of the drop projected in Autumn 2022. In case of Türkiye, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bulgaria, expected GFCF growth was around 3%-4%. It doubled in Türkiye and quadrupled in Slovenia, while in Bulgaria it fell by less than half. In Serbia, GFCF prospects were similar to those of the EU and the Euro area, but slightly higher (1.7%).
In Slovenia, predicted construction growth rate almost doubled to close to 6% from Autumn 2022 to Spring 2023. For Romania and Croatia, projections were 6.55% and 3.05%, respectably. In Bulgaria and Hungary, the outlook significantly deteriorated. The same was true for the EU and the Euro area where expected GFCF into construction growth was barely above zero. Thus, the surveyed EU member countries outperformed the projected construction growth in both the EU and the Euro area. Hungary was the only exception where a decline was anticipated.
This above is the European Commission’s opinion. EECFA’s opinion, on Eastern European construction markets and forecast on submarket and segment level can be found in the latest EECFA reports. Sample report and order: eecfa.com. Türkiye and Croatia could be top performer, Romania, Russia and Serbia are foreseen to shrink.
Our approach is different from that of the Commission, as we provide forecast for each segment of construction. That is, we have a bottom-up approach, where forecast is computed separately for residential, office, retail, industrial buildings, roads, railways, utility etc. segments.