The March edition of business magazine LMD reports that the LMD-Nielsen Business Confidence Index (BCI) “registered a sharp decline from its all-time-high of 194 in January. In February, the index shed a substantial 34 points, to settle at 160 – although it remains at a much higher level than witnessed in 2014.”
LMD also notes that 12 months ago, the BCI stood at “a somewhat lowly” 124, and the average since then is only 20 points higher.
Nielsen’s Managing Director Shaheen Cader says in the magazine: “Post-Budget, the BCI has declined, as the business sector’s post-election optimism has waned somewhat. Businesses are now more cautious about economic and future business growth.”
“There has also been a marked reduction in optimism about the investment climate,” he adds. In its monthly column, LMD observes that only four-in-10 respondents now feel that investment prospects are ‘good.’ “In contrast, 63% of those surveyed in January viewed investment prospects with optimism,” it notes.
A spokesman for Media Services, which publishes LMD, states: “The BCI outcome tells a very different story to that of the previous month, when the expected change in the political culture made a dramatic impact on business sentiment.”
He continues: “It is difficult to predict where the index will head in the near term, as another round of elections is on the horizon. Our educated guess is that the tapered optimism among businesspeople since the 8 January presidential election will hold, provided that we’re not in for any rude shocks!”
The magazine will be released to leading bookstores and supermarkets on Friday 6 March, says a spokesperson for its publisher Media Services (for the full BCI report, go to www.LMD.lk).