Further survey results
In addition to the regularly recurring questions on enterprise metrics, expectations and access to loans, the Bundesbank frequently asks enterprises questions on various current issues. A selection of the results is presented here.
Increase in expenditure on energy and fuels
Firms in Germany were first asked about changes in their expenditure on energy and fuels in April 2022 in light of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Until the end of April 2023, between 83% and 88% of firms consistently reported an increase in expenditure over the past 12 months. In May and June 2023, the share of these firms declined and settled at a somewhat lower level between 73% and 78% from July 2023 onwards. Expectations for expenditure on energy and fuels over the next 12 months began to decline as early as October 2022 and reached their lowest point thus far in June 2023. At that point in time, only 49% of firms expected their expenditure on energy and fuels to rise further. Their share has grown again since then, fluctuating between 50% and 60% in the second and third quarters of 2023.
Average change in prices charged for products and services
Following the peak of 10.6% in December 2022, the rate of price adjustments fell to 6.6% in the period up to November 2023 before stabilising at this level, at least for the time being. Expected changes in prices charged over the next 12 months followed the trend of past developments in these prices. They have fallen steadily from their peak in September 2022 (10.2%). Since October 2023, firms have been expecting their prices to increase between 5.2% and 5.3% on average.
Changes in numbers of employees
Between Q4 2021 and Q2 2023, firms in Germany consistently reported slight increases in their numbers of employees over the preceding 12 months. With a slight decline of 0.3% on average in Q4 2023, firms reported a reduction in their numbers of employees for the first time.
Uncertainty about the development of prices charged for products and services
The uncertainty among German firms regarding the development of the prices charged for their products and services that was first observed shortly after the start of Russia’s war against Ukraine has remained elevated. The uncertainty peaked in September 2023, when 38.5% of firms responded that they were “uncertain”, “rather uncertain” or “neither certain nor uncertain” about how the prices they charged would develop over the next 12 months. Since then, this subjective price uncertainty has abated only marginally, most recently to 36.4% of firms. (The percentages shown are three-month moving averages).