Wednesday January 2, 2013
Positive outlook on economy
By MAZWIN NIK ANIS
PETALING JAYA: Growing confidence in the economy among the Malaysian business community has pushed the country's business optimism level back on the positive, recording 12% this year.
According to the latest data from the Grant Thornton International Business Report, this was better than that recorded last year at -4%.
The report also revealed that 52% of Malaysian businesses were expecting higher revenue for the new year, with 42% of them looking to invest in plant and machinery.
Some 35% of business owners were also expecting to chart profitability for 2013, said the report, whose data was based on a survey involving 3,200 business leaders in 44 countries.
Malaysia received various international recognitions last year, including being ranked by the World Bank as the 12th most business-friendly country and evaluated by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as one with high human development index.
It was also the highest-placed developing Asian economy in a World Economic Forum survey.
Business owners in neighbouring countries, said the report, were equally optimistic about the economy with the Philippines being the most confident in the region at 72%, followed by Singapore (26%) and Thailand (19%).
However, optimism in Vietnam dropped from 34% last year to 10%.
Although most countries in the survey recorded positive business optimism, those in the negative included Britain (-3%), the United States (-4%), Japan (-70%), Spain (-67%), Finland (-50%), France (-49%), the Netherlands (-42%) and Greece (-42%).
“Hopes for a strong start to economic recovery in 2013 look to be diminishing globally, especially in the United States and Europe. However, the forecast and scene is entirely different for Asia, particularly for Asean countries,” said the report.
The fall in global business optimisim, it stated, had largely been driven by a huge drop in the world's largest economy, the United States.
“Economic uncertainty caused by concerns over the US fiscal cliff' and ongoing fears over the long-term viability of eurozone is dampening growth prospects,” suggested the report.