Business confidence has slumped. | Jaume Morey

The business confidence index for the second quarter of this year has fallen 26.9%, the lowest level it has been since the quarterly series started in 2013.

Produced by the National Statistics Institute, the survey was carried out over the final two weeks of March, so after the state of alarm was declared. The index had fallen in the first quarter (by 0.4%) and in the final quarter of 2019 (2.9%), but the decrease for the second quarter is clearly for a different reason.

The balance of "prospects", i.e. the difference between optimistic and pessimistic business perception, has slumped by 72 points, there having been a 5.9% drop in the first quarter. Seventy-five per cent of businesses considered that conditions will be unfavourable between April and June, whereas for the first quarter this was 21%. The percentage of businesses which believed that conditions will be "normal" was 22%, with three per cent having said that they are optimistic; this was 15% in the first quarter.

The sectors for which there has been the greatest losses of confidence are transport and hospitality (-32.4%) and construction (-29.3%). The loss of confidence by businesses with more than 1,000 employees is 22%, whereas it is 28.7% for those with under ten employees, 28.1% for ten to 49 employees, 26.7% for 50 to 199, and 25.1% for 200 to 999.

In the Balearics the loss of confidence is 30.1%, the second greatest in the country after Catalonia (down 30.2%). In the Canaries it is 29.9%. The smallest loss of confidence (22.8%) is in Murcia.