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Grant Thornton: Fall in business optimism

By Rob Starr, Content Manager, Big4.com

The latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), a survey of 3,200 business leaders in 44 economies, suggests economic uncertainty caused by concerns over the United States ‘fiscal cliff’ and ongoing fears over the long-term viability of eurozone is dampening growth prospects.

Optimism in North America swung from 6% in Q4 2011 to 52% in Q2 2012, before falling back to just 1% in Q4 2012. The G7 economies have seen similar swings, while European businesses have reported a slow decline in business optimism.

Ed Nusbaum, CEO of Grant Thornton International commented:

“The upswing in mature economy business optimism we saw in the first half of 2012 followed pronouncements by the ECB and the Federal Reserve on the level of support they were prepared to provide their respective economies,” he said. “However, this confidence has dissipated over the second half of the year. By contrast, emerging economies have remained far less volatile. It’s a fascinating trend which drives home where the major problems in the global economy lie at present.”

“Economic uncertainty understandably elicits a ‘wait and see’ policy from businesses, but we would urge owners not to lose sight of their long-term growth objectives. Opportunities exist for those dynamic businesses which are prepared to balance reason with instinct in their decision making. Those that lock in their best people and invest to be first out of the gate in a recovery are likely to find themselves ahead of the competition.”

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