Tunis/Tunisia — The number of industrial business leaders who are optimistic about the general situation of the manufacturing sector exceeds for the first time since the outbreak of the pandemic the number of those who are pessimistic, according to an opinion survey on the situation and prospects of industrial enterprises.
Conducted by the National Institute of Statistics (INS) in March 2021, among 991 business leaders, this survey revealed that the balance of opinion based on the responses of business leaders interviewed on this issue is expected to reach 22% during the second quarter (Q2), against 19% during Q1 2021.
The balance of opinion is defined as "the difference between the proportion of respondents who expressed a positive opinion and the proportion who expressed a negative opinion."
Actually, business leaders reported an improvement in the general situation of the sector in Q1 2021, with a positive balance of opinion (2%), compared to a negative balance (-10%) in Q4 2020.
// Improvement in demand for industrial materials//
In terms of demand for industrial materials, the balance of opinion indicator shows that business leaders in the manufacturing industry expect an improvement in Q2 2021.
The balance of opinion rose from 15% in Q1 2021 to 27% in Q2 2021.
The balance of opinion increased from 15% in Q1 2021 to 27% in Q2 2021, as business leaders reported a stable level of demand growth in Q1 2021 compared to Q4 2020.
The balance of opinion stood at 7% compared to 8% in Q4 2020.
//Stability of external demand for industrial materials//
In terms of external demand for industrial materials, business leaders expect external demand growth to remain stable, with the balance of opinion reaching 17% in Q2 2021, compared to a forecast of 16% in Q1 of the same year.
In Q1, the balance of opinion of business leaders reveals a decline in external demand growth (7%), compared to a balance of 15% in Q4 2020.
//Slight drop in industrial production projected//
As far as industrial production is concerned, they expect a slight drop in production in the industrial sector in Q2, with the balance of opinion falling from 12% in Q1 to 8% in Q2 2021.
By sector, an improvement in the production of the majority of sectors will be recorded, with the exception of textiles, clothing and leather with a negative balance of opinion of -23%.
Besides, the survey pointed out an improvement of the industrial production level in Q1 2021, compared to Q4 2020 (a balance of 1% against a negative balance of -8%), with the possibility of a slight decrease in the next three years.
By sector, an improvement in the production of the mechanical and electrical industries sector and the agricultural and food industries sector was registered with respective balances of opinion of 18% and 11%.
The chemical sector and miscellaneous industries saw an improvement in output growth but reported negative balances of opinion at -18% and -2%, respectively.
The balance of opinion of business leaders regarding the building materials, ceramics and glass industries stood at -6%.