Ljubljana, 25 March (STA) - Business sentiment in Slovenia continued to improve in March on the back of a marked improvement in outlook in construction and a boost in confidence in all key sectors, but remained below the long-term average, the Statistics Office said on Tuesday.
The business sentiment index was up 3 percentage points over February and up 7 points over March 2013, but was 3 points below the long-term average, according to today's release from the Statistics Office.
The improvement in business confidence has been fuelled by a marked increase in confidence in construction, where the index has rebounded to pre-crisis levels in recent months.
The confidence index in construction was 8 percentage points higher than a month earlier and 22 points above that in March 2013, hitting its highest mark since October 2008.
The Statistics Office said that the improvement was a result of significant improvements in expectations of hiring and orders in the sector.
In manufacturing, the confidence index rose by 1 percentage point on a monthly level and was 8 percentage points higher in annual comparison, putting it 4 points above the long-term average.
The improvement in manufacturing was brought about by an improvement in the outlook for orders and inventories, which outweighed a drop in outlook for export orders and production capacities.
Confidence also rose in retail, where the index was 1 point higher than in February and 5 points higher than in March 2013, but remained 6 points below the long-term average.
Likewise, the services sector reported a 3 point improvement on February and an 8 point rise over the same month last year. However, sentiment in this sector remains the least upbeat, lagging the long-term average by 15 points.