According to the January 2024 survey of Századvég Konjunktúrakutató, household economic sentiment improved by 3.3 index points, while business economic expectations decreased by 1.0 index points from the previous month. Thus, the household index, measured on a scale of -100 to +100, strengthened to -11.9, while the business index weakened to -11.7. The indices show a significant improvement over a longer horizon: compared to December 2022, the household index increased by 18.0 index points and the corporate index by 10.2 index points. The January survey showed a marked positive change, with households saying they had bought more goods and services in the past year than a year earlier. And companies were positive about their future investment plans.


The prosperity index remained in negative territory, determined by the prolonged Russia-Ukraine war and the uncertainty caused by economic sanctions. An even more significant improvement in the sense of prosperity will be possible if the war ends, inflation continues to fall, the interest rate environment becomes more favourable and energy markets see sustained low prices.

All sub-indices of the household prosperity index improved from the previous month, and, overall, the index rose significantly compared to December. Employment continues to be the most positively assessed, returning from -1.2 in the previous month to a positive 3.5. Households’ assessment of inflation trends continued to improve, also on the back of favourable data, with the indicator rising from -81.3 in December to -80.0. The perception of the economic environment improved from -18.3 points in the previous month to -14.4, while that of the financial situation improved from -12.5 to -10.3.

In the household survey, household consumption growth showed a remarkable positive shift from December. When asked “In the past 1 year, did your household buy more or less goods and services than a year earlier?”, consumption shifted decisively towards buying more. 17.6% bought a lot less (3.0 percentage points less than in the December survey), 27.1% bought a little less (-2.7 percentage points), and 1.2 percentage points more (39.9%) bought as much as in the year before. In addition, 10.6% (+2.1 percentage points) said they had bought a little more and 3.7% (+2.2 percentage points) said they had bought a lot more in the past year than in the year before that.

In January, the sense of prosperity among households improved most in two age groups: those aged 40-49 (from -20.0 to -13.8) and those aged 50-59 (from -20.1 to -13.1). The most optimistic age group is now the over-60s (-7.4), while the most pessimistic age group is the 30-39s (-17.9). In the youngest age group surveyed (18-29 years), the current index value is -10.7.

It is also worth noting that 24 out of the 28 questions that make up the index show an improving sentiment, whether they are of the retrospective (for the past year) or prospective (for the next year) type. It should be noted that the last time the January 2024 value of the sub-index for the public outlook questions (-10.8) was so favourable was in March 2022.

The business survey showed a deterioration in the sub-indices. The economic environment index deteriorated more significantly, from -15.9 in the previous month to -17.3, the industrial environment index from -2.2 to -5.0, the business environment index from -19.0 to -20.5, while the production environment index deteriorated slightly, from -9.0 to -9.5.

For businesses, the biggest positive change in January 2024 was the change in future investment. When asked “How likely do you think it is that your business will be able to make an investment in the next year?”, overall 2.3 percentage points more respondents said “to some extent” (more likely, probably, definitely). This means that, in January, 30.8% of them plan to invest in the next year, up from 28.5% in December.

When looking at the sectoral breakdown, it can be seen that business sense of prosperity has increased on average in two sectors. On average, the economic sentiment index increased by +1.4 points in agriculture and +4.8 points in industry, while it changed by -0.5 points in trade, -2.2 points in services and -1.3 points in construction from December to January. In the case of industrial companies, the significant rise in VAT receipts to the government budget already signalled higher sales, which also explains the more favourable sense of prosperity. In addition, the growth stimulus measures announced last month by the Ministry of National Economy, the extension of the Széchenyi Card Programme and the increase and continuation of the Baross Gábor Reindustrialisation Loan Programme to HUF 1,200 billion, could have been stimulative.

• About the prosperity index

The purpose of the prosperity survey conducted by Századvég Konjunktúrakutató is to provide information to decision-makers and analysts on current and near-term economic developments. Since August 2019, our Institute has been producing the business and consumer prosperity index on a monthly basis. Our monthly survey asks 1,000 business leaders and 1,000 adult residents about their assessment of the economic situation and their expectations. For the two groups, we ask 29 and 28 questions respectively, covering a wide range of economic life. Among the responses received, positive ones (e.g. expected economic improvement) are given a positive score, while negative ones (expected decrease in employment) are given a negative score. The scores are then averaged and converted to a scale between -100 and +100 to obtain the prosperity indices. Thus, the higher the value of the prosperity indices, the more positive households’ and companies’ perception of the economy is. In addition, for both the household and the business survey, 4 sub-indices are constructed using a subset of the questions to illustrate the evolution of economic sentiment in a particular area.