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Confidence boost for region


Confidence boost for region

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UNITED STATES BUSINESS (US) confidence has increased, and this is good news for Barbados and its Caribbean neighbours, says the regional head of a leading accounting body.

A quarterly survey found that global business confidence rebounded in the first quarter and was now at its highest level since the second quarter of 2015.

The Global Economic Conditions Survey (GECS), which was released last week, is a quarterly survey of global chief financial officers (CFOs) and finance professionals. It is conducted by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

It concluded that economic sentiment was spearheaded by an increasingly confident outlook in North America. This was reflected across leading developed and emerging markets.

Commenting on the findings ACCA Caribbean head Orin Gordon said while global challenges remained, the fact that United States business confidence had improved was positive for the region.

“The US economy has maintained an elevated level of confidence from [the fourth quarter] in 2016, with 37 per cent of firms feeling more confident,” he said.

“An expectation of increased infrastructural spending and tax cuts has contributed to a buoyant business mood even though they are yet to materialise into policy.”

Gordon also noted that the survey “found that inflationary fears are putting pressure on global economies, with nearly half (46 per cent) of firms reporting increasing costs as a cause for concern”.

But he added there were “significant improvements for employment and investment, with 22 per cent of firms planning to create more jobs and raise capital expenditure” – up from 16 per cent and 14 per cent, respectively, in the last quarter of 2016.

The ACCA spokesman said in these conditions meant that environment policymakers would have an important role in the coming months, “The IMF is expecting global growth of 3.4 per cent this year, the fastest rate of growth since 2012,” he said.

“Yet in this period of fragile recovery, a number of policy interventions could have a significant impact. The new US administration has yet to follow through on its tough campaign rhetoric on trade. If and when it does, the picture, and the mood, will change significantly.” (SC/PR)