January 25, 2021 at 10:30-12:00 Vienna time (CET)
Hervé Joly, JVI Director
Luca Gattini, Senior Economist in the Economics Department – Country and Financial Sector Analysis Division of the European Investment Bank
Áron Gereben, Deputy Adviser at the European Investment Bank’s Economics Department.
Julia Wörz, Head of the Central, Eastern and Southeastern European Analysis Unit at the Foreign Research Division in Economics Analysis and Research Department and Diversity Officer of the Oesterreichische Nationalbank
This webinar aims to provide a snapshot into the post-pandemic state of corporate investment and of the banking sectors in Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe (CESEE), through the lens of two recent surveys administered by the European Investment Bank (EIB).
The annual EIB Investment Survey (EIBIS) gathers qualitative and quantitative information on investment activities by around 12 000 companies across the EU27. It provides information on their financing requirements and the difficulties they face. The survey shows that COVID-19 abruptly halted the positive investment trend in CESEE. Firms in the region are more likely to reduce investment in the coming year than to increase, and to abandon their previous investment plans. Uncertainty about the future is cited as the main long-term barrier to investment, followed by the availability of skilled staff. The responses also highlight that CESEE companies are more likely to be financially constrained in one way or another than their EU peers. While the proportion of firms implementing digital technologies is in line with the EU average, CESEE firms continue to invest less into ‘intangible’ assets, and R&D in particular. While over half of companies in the region have already invested or plan to invest in the next three years in measures to tackle climate change, this is below the EU average. (Link: https://www.eib.org/en/publications/econ-eibis-2020-cesee)
The semi-annual EIB CESEE Bank Lending Survey provides insights into banking sector activities and business expectations in CESEE with a particular focus to the pandemic period. Despite the relentless pandemic, the financial systems in the CESEE region is still coping. International banks are showing their commitment to the region. Nonetheless, COVID-19 has brought about a deceleration in activities to increase capital. CESEE subsidiaries and local banks report a decrease in demand for credit and tightening of credit standards. Particularly worrisome is a decline of demand for investment financing also taking into account the green and digital twin challenge economies in the region are facing. Non-performing loan ratios deteriorated, although less than anticipated in the Spring 2020. Regulatory and policy measures have played a significant role in keeping the economy afloat. In particular, public guarantee schemes have been very effective in maintaining lending activity by banks in the CESEE region. (Link: https://www.eib.org/en/publications/cesee-bls-2020-h2)