January 10, 2007 |
|Executives around the world are more confident about the economic outlook this year, led by rising optimism in Europe and Asia, a survey shows. |
A gauge measuring confidence based on a survey of 7,200 executives of medium-sized to large privately controlled companies in 32 countries rose to 45 from 39 a year earlier, said Grant Thornton International, an accounting and consulting firm based in London. The indicator covers 81 percent of global gross domestic product.
A 14 percent retreat in oil prices over the past year has helped bolster optimism around the world by leaving consumers and businesses with more money to spend and fueling growth. European Central Bank President Jean-Claude Trichet, speaking as chairman of the Group of 10 nations, said Jan. 8 that he's ``confident'' Europe and Asia will be able to withstand a U.S. slowdown.
The survey shows ``a rebalancing of the global economy with increasing optimism in Europe and more pessimistic outlook from U.S. business owners,'' Alex MacBeath, head of business services for Grant Thornton, said in the report. ``However, their level of confidence can't match the emerging economies.''
Twenty-nine of 32 countries are optimistic about their economy's development this year, with 24 more confident than in 2006. Indian businesses were the most optimistic, followed by the Philippines, China, Singapore and Ireland. European business leaders were more confident than their U.S. counterparts for the first time in the indicator's five-year history.
Japanese executives were the most pessimistic about the outlook, followed by Taiwan and Turkey. Business leaders in the U.S. were the fourth least optimistic in the survey, today's report showed.
The survey is based on the percentage balance of positive and negative responses. The highest possible figure countries are able to record is 100 and the lowest is minus 100. The survey was conducted in October and November.