The Bank of France is categorical. In Occitania, business leaders are revising their investment plans upwards. “ There is a price effect with inflation, that’s certain, but there are also investments for the ecological transition, and others to respond to growth in activity. », Analyzes Christine Bardinet, the director of the establishment in the region. To make such remarks, the Banque de France refreshed its study on the economic outlook in Occitanie, for the year 2023, based on the participation of 1,392 companies (179,000 employees).
Solicited via a questionnaire, the leaders of the industry (which accounts for 68% of the total weight of investments) now estimate the evolution of investments at +38.5% in 2023 compared to the previous year , compared to +8.3% initially after a first survey last December.
(Source: Banque de France)
The observation, to a lesser extent, is identical in the market services sector, just like that of construction. The latter even initially forecast a drop in investments from 2022 to 2023 (-5.5%). “ There was a bit of pessimism at the start of the year (…) Now, we are moving from anxiety-inducing pessimism to resilience on the part of business leaders », comments Christine Bardinet. However, this updating of the study took place before the ECB’s announcement to reassess its key rates upwards. A decision which will impact the cost of financing operations and therefore perhaps lead to smaller or even fewer credits.
“Good surprise” for the construction industry
However, this increase in the level of investment in Occitanie is correlated with activity levels which are picking up. A sign that optimism is returning among regional leaders? “ There is an increase in activity in volume. It’s not just a price effect », assures the regional director.
(Source: Banque de France)
As the graph above illustrates, merchant services are revising their turnover forecasts upwards by three points for the current year. As for the industry, it wants to be more cautious in its outlook, in particular due to a slump in the months of January and February in the aeronautics industry according to the Banque de France. Furthermore, the construction industry is regaining color, despite the current context surrounding real estate construction.
“This is the good surprise of this mid-year study. But it is above all the second work that is driving the sector, particularly with energy renovation. Structural work suffers from a problem with construction starts in real estate (…) Also, we see in the construction industry that there are now choices on the projects carried out to go towards the most profitable ones”, observes Christine Bardinet.
As for corporate profitability, the head of the Banque de France is not sounding the alarm this fall and notes a certain stability between the projections at the start of the year and those for August 2023. Stability will be the norm in industry (61%) and market services (63%), more than at the start of the year, just like in construction. For the latter, 25% of business leaders who were banking on an increase in their profitability are now counting on stability.