The glimmer of hope that was on the horizon for Swedish exports in the beginning of this year was extinguished by the coronavirus crisis. Business Sweden’s Export Managers’ Index (EMI) plunged and hit rock bottom during the second quarter, with a decline of 19.1 points to 37.2, from 56.3 in the first quarter. This is the largest single quarterly drop since measurements began in 2007. EMI is now at parity with the level recorded during the global financial crisis (GFC) of 2008/2009.
The fact that EMI dropped well below the 50-mark – which is the dividing line between optimism and pessimism – indicates that the export companies collectively have a strongly pessimistic view of export development.
The collapse of EMI is particularly bound to the decline of the EMI forecast which is the sub-index for the forward-looking issues. The EMI forecast fell by 23.9 points to 38.2 in the second quarter, from the high level of 62.1 in the first quarter. Current EMI fell by 14.2 points to 36.2 in the second quarter, from 50.4 in the previous quarter.
All sub-indices fell sharply – most of them by double digits – and are currently well below the 50-mark, which indicates a pessimistic view. Most of the sub-indices fell to the same low level recorded during the GFC, or even below. Large companies (with export sales of more than SEK 250 million) are consistently more pessimistic than small and medium-sized companies.
There is no escaping the fact that the global recession is having a severe impact on Sweden’s export companies. Taken all together, we can observe in this survey that all sub-indices have fallen well below the 50-mark. This clearly indicates that both the current view on export and the three-month forecast among export companies is bleak, to say the least, and even dire.
The overriding task now is to look for positive signs wherever they can be found. If the coronavirus crisis can be brought under control and more markets open up with an easing of restrictions, it is likely that we can expect a turning point in the third quarter.
Download the report for a complete overview of the survey.
The next Export Managers’ Index will be published on 20 August 2020.
About The analysis
Business Sweden’s quarterly index showing the current mood of Swedish exporting companies as well as their near-future outlook for exports to the regions of the world.
The index is a measure of companies’ perceived export demand in the market, where a level above 50 indicates market expansion and a level below 50 indicates market contraction. The index can be split into sub-indices for current and forecast export demand, and contains information on export sales, expected regional demand and perceived order stock.
Export Managers' index Q2 2020
Publishing dates 2020
Below are the Swedish publishing dates of the EMI report. The English version is available on the website a few days after.
13 February: EMI Q1
14 May: EMI Q2
20 August: EMI Q3
12 November: EMI Q4