Concerns might be rife over the impact of a slowdown of the US economy on European manufacturing, but two recent surveys point to an optimistic outlook for Europe.
According to NTC Economics’ pan-European survey of expectations, 56 per cent of European manufacturers expected their sales volumes to rise over the coming year compared with 12 per cent forecasting a decline. The same survey indicated that the emerging economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China are even more optimistic about 2008 with a 64 point lead of those predicting a rise in output over those expecting a fall. Could such a decoupling of the world’s largest economy really be so conveniently arrived at?
China may be expecting Europe to take up the slack in demand, but equally there is the shadow of inflationary price rises looming for Western companies. Perhaps sourcing closer to home markets may become more attractive as last year’s oil price rises take effect and ‘green’ sourcing policies swing into place? The Greater London Authority Group for one, with a spend of €4 billion a year on goods and services, has reportedly, written new ‘responsible procurement’ clauses into many large contracts.
Analytiqa’s latest research, ‘Central and Eastern European Logistics 2008’ also shows a bright future with spending on contract logistics services across six key markets set to increase by €7.3 billion over the next three years as the size of the outsourced contract logistics market grows by 89 per cent.
Despite the burden of poor infrastructure, Eastern Europe has been making steady progress. The analysts estimate that the largest individual market for logistics in the region, Poland, grew by 33 per cent between 2005 and 2007. And they say Bulgaria and Romania are set for ‘explosive growth rates’ with 82 per cent growth by 2010 for Bulgaria and a 22 per cent per year growth for Romanian markets.
Economic worries? What economic worries?