INTOUCH : NZ outlook rosy?

There’s nothing like dose of recession to get Kiwi business folk donning the rosy spectacles.
At least that’s the impression from the latest International Business Report (IBR) which found that New Zealand business optimism has leapt from -15 percent last year to 66 percent for the year ahead. It’s the most bullish Kiwi businesses have been since business advisors Grant Thornton started its annual survey of our privately held companies back in 2003.
In international terms, that level of optimism puts us at seventh place in the business confidence rankings and well ahead of the global average (24 percent). Australia came in third (with 79 percent) behind Chile (85 percent) and India (84 percent). Now in its 18th year, the IBR surveys more than 7400 private businesses across 36 economies and its recent survey found businesses globally are bouncing back faster than IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasts would suggest.
The results are heartening, says Grant Thornton NZ director Peter Sherwin.
“Privately held businesses contribute 81 percent of global GDP and both the global and local business community should be encouraged by the results. Many people blamed globalisation for the speed of the downturn but we are now seeing that globalisation may also help us accelerate out. This survey suggests that businesses in the giant emerging markets of mainland China, India and Brazil are confident they can help pull the rest of the world back into growth…”
Those needing encouragement include Japan which languishes on an optimism ranking of -72 percent, Spain (-56 percent) and Ireland (-42 percent).
Other survey findings are that North Island businesses are more confident (70 percent) than their South Island counterparts (57 percent) with 66 percent of North Island business expecting increased revenues in 2010.
When asked where businesses had put increasing focus in preparation for the upturn, the most emphasis in New Zealand was on current workforce skills, new target markets and new products/services.

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