The global economy recovered substantially in early 2012 and regained some of the dynamism it had lost over the last year, suggests the latest edition of the Global Economic Conditions Survey, conducted by ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) and the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).
The global survey findings, representing the views of about 2,200 accounting professionals around the world, were welcomed by the two professional bodies: the share of respondents reporting confidence gains in their own organisations had nearly doubled from 16% in late 2011 to 29%, and while the majority (54%) still believed the global economy was deteriorating or stagnating, that figure was down from 73% in the previous quarter.
"When all the results came in, we were a little sceptical and had to consider all of the likely objections first," says Emmanouil Schizas, editor of the ACCA/IMA Global Economic Conditions Survey. "Much of the rise in confidence is being reversed as we speak, as the relief factor subsides, but a lot of it is here to stay."
ACCA and IMA attribute much of the rise in global business confidence to objective improvements to the business environment, especially new orders, but also warn that relief is an important driver in the short term - especially due to the fact that a number of nightmare scenarios that had seemed likely in late 2011, such as an escalation of the European sovereign debt crisis or a hard landing in China, appeared more remote in the last quarter.
There also appears to be a renewed faith in the prospects of the global economy and the strength of the recovery. These developments were also reflected in rising business investment and employment.
For Mainland China and Hong Kong, the last two quarters of the survey findings have shown a different picture.
Respondents in the Mainland have reported growing confidence, ahead of all others in the wider Asia-Pacific region, as well as very encouraging investment figures and the best employment figures of any major ACCA or IMA market. These are however combined with rapid inflation and concerns about government spending.
Those in Hong Kong, on the other hand, have consistently reported lower confidence, and investment, underperforming the rest of the region, while also calling for an increase in government spending.
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