As in the previous year, the business climate on the German private equity market cooled off at the beginning of 2015, but remains positive overall. The business climate index of the German Private Equity Barometer fell by 7.2 points to 50.2 balance points in the first quarter. The slowdown in the business climate is mainly due to lower business expectations. The business expectations indicator, for example, fell by 16.4 points to 44.8 balance points. By contrast, the current business situation improved slightly once again. The corresponding indicator rises by 2.0 points to 55.6 balance points. In the early phase segment, the business climate cooled off sharply again after the high sentiment at the end of the year, and the business climate indicator fell by 10.8 points to 46.0 balance points. The early-stage financiers corrected their current business situation only slightly downwards, but their business expectations deteriorated significantly. Business expectations are also clouding the mood among late-stage financiers. The business climate indicator fell by 5.0 points to 52.8 balance points, with the worse business climate being due to more pessimistic business expectations, as in the early phase segment. By contrast, the current business situation in the segment improved.
After the mood setback at the beginning of the year, the upward trend of the business climate on the German equity capital market is stabilizing again. The business climate index of the German Private Equity Barometer rose by 7.6 points to 57.8 balance points in the second quarter, with the business climate in the early and late phase segments improving in roughly equal measure. The current business situation of the venture capitalists as a whole is approaching its all-time high, and business expectations are again significantly more optimistic. The indicator for the current business situation rises by 4.6 points to 61.1 balance points, the one for business expectations by 10.5 points to 54.5 balance points. In the early phase segment, the early summer business climate is somewhat recovering from the weaker start to the year and the indicator is rising by 7.4 points to 53.5 balance points. While the current business situation of the early-stage financiers is almost unaffected, business expectations are recovering more clearly from the scepticism that arose at the beginning of the year. Late stage financiers are optimistic about the financial year and the spring recovery is making up for the restrained start of the new year. The business climate indicator rose by 7.2 points to 60.1 balance points in the second quarter of 2015. The companies in the segment again report an improved current business situation and are optimistic about the rest of the financial year.
The upward trend of the business climate on the German equity capital market further stabilised in late summer. The German Private Equity Barometer increases by 2.0 points to 59.8 balance points in the third quarter of 2015. The business climate improved significantly in the early phase segment and stabilized at a high level in the late phase segment. The venture capital investors report both a further overall improvement in the business situation and an increase in business expectations. In the early phase segment, the sentiment indicator improved by 13.5 points to an all-time high of 67.0 balance points. The early-stage financiers report a further improvement in the current business situation and show a new, high degree of optimism regarding business expectations. This development is accompanied by a recovery in the fundraising and demand climate. The business climate in the late phase segment cooled slightly in late summer on a still high level. The business climate indicator declined by 4.2 points to 55.9 balance points, although the late-phase financiers report that the current business situation has hardly changed but remains good, but are again somewhat more cautious with regard to business expectations. A historically low depreciation pressure, an exit climate with a new record value and a stable fundraising climate at record levels were the important pillars.
At the end of the year, the business climate on the German private equity market remained stable at a relatively high level. The German Private Equity Barometer remained unchanged at 59.8 balance points in the fourth quarter of 2015. The business climate in the early-phase segment is dropping considerably, while it is recovering significantly in the later-phase segment. Overall, venture capitalists have revised their assessment of the current business situation somewhat downwards, but are more optimistic about business expectations: the indicator for the current business situation continues to fall by 1.5 points to 62.1 balance points, the indicator for business expectations rises by 1.6 points to 57.3 balance points. Following the record climate in the third quarter, early-stage financiers are sobering at the end of the year. The business climate indicator in the early-phase segment fell significantly by 19.8 points to 47.1 balance points in the fourth quarter. Despite the severe correction, however, the business climate can still be rated as good and is still above the level of the first quarter 2015. The indicator rose by 11.6 points to 67.4 balance points, thus approaching its previous best value.