The report stresses that, while the economic situation is tough, the constant flow of depressing headlines may be making finance professionals even more pessimistic than conditions actually justify.
While the economic situation is tough, the constant flow of depressing headlines may be making finance professionals even more pessimistic than conditions actually justify, the report’s author has said.
Three quarters of the 2,873 professionals who took part in the Global Economic Conditions Survey between 19 August and 7 September 2011 thought global economic conditions were deteriorating or stagnating. Nearly half, (49%) had lost confidence in the economic prospects of their own organizations, while a similar percentage (45%) thought their governments were not dealing correctly with current economic challenges.
ACCA believes that much of the drop in confidence, especially in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, is down to a flow of bad news rather than the economic fundamentals, which have deteriorated only slightly in the past three months.
Manos Schizas, senior policy adviser with ACCA and survey editor, said:
'The weakening in demand and deteriorating access to finance reported by accountants were not sharp enough to justify the strong negative sentiment which they expressed. But after taking into account the effects that fear for the future will have on their views, the evidence still points to falling economic activity in the developed nations and a sharp slowdown in emerging economies.
'The drop in confidence could be seen as a result of people waking up to trends which have accumulated for the past year or more. Globally, demand has proven to be too weak to sustain reliable growth, investment refuses to pick up and inflation remains high. And on top of everything else, it’s still unclear whether the sovereign debt crisis in Europe can be contained, or indeed what it will mean if it cannot,' he said.
Although all regions except the Middle East are now in negative territory in terms of both economic and business confidence, ACCA is particularly conscious of developments in the Asia-Pacific region, which once led the world into recovery. After falling steadily for more than a year, confidence levels in the region are now comparable to, if not lower than, those in Europe, and economies which undertaken more international trade (such as Singapore or Hong Kong) appear to be the worst hit.