2020 Q4 Free Zones World Economic Barometer


  • Meuchelböck
  • S.
  • Gern
  • K.-J.

In the last quarter of 2020, Free Zones around the globe are still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. This is the result of the 2020Q4 F-WEB survey conducted in December 2020. At 10 percent, the share of Free Zones reporting a good current economic situation even reached a new low. It decreased by 7 percentage points compared with the previous quarter. 53 percent of the Free Zones reported a normal economic situation, increasing from 49 percent in 2020Q3. Similarly, the share of participants assessing their situation as poor increased by 3 percentage points to 37 percent. As a result of these changes, the corresponding F-WEB Economic Conditions Index decreased by 10 to -27 in this survey. One year ago, before the outbreak of the pandemic, the index stood at 41, with 46 percent of the respondents reporting a good economic situation and only 5 percent experiencing poor conditions. On a more positive note, investment, employment and profitability showed some signs of improvement in the fourth quarter compared with the previous three months. Turnover, however, decreased slightly.