NZ business optimism up, global outlook down

“New Zealand business owners have accepted that the tough grind we’ve been going through over the last couple of years is the new norm and they are just knuckling down and doing the business. They have learnt to be smarter about how they do business rather than lament the recent difficult times. Successful operators are identifying their niche products or services and capitalising on opportunities and securing market share that way,” says Pam Newlove, co-chair and partner, Grant Thornton New Zealand.

“Australia may not have suffered the level of pain that we endured during the global financial crisis, but with the slowdown of China and the fall in commodity prices, indicators have turned south in the ‘lucky country’ with slew of major redundancies in some of the larger companies.

“Employment aspirations show that 34 percent of New Zealand companies are looking to employ more staff in 2013 compared with only eight percent in Australia.”

New Zealand companies have almost twice the level of optimism currently being experienced in Australia when it comes to forecast revenues and profitability.

“Seventy percent were expecting increased revenue over the next 12 months and 58 percent were expecting an increase in profitability. For Australia the figures were 36 percent and 34 percent, another indicator of the shape of their economy,” she said.

Lack of skilled labour (38 percent), red tape (31 percent) and shortage of working capital (28 percent) were all cited as constraints to growing and expanding businesses.

“The overall picture is one of an improving economy but there are some key messages that have come out of the survey. Businesses must look after and retain their good staff, continue to educate and upskill them and continue to invest energy and time into maintaining and managing customer relationships,” she said.

The global outlook
Hopes for strong start to economic recovery in 2013 look to be diminishing as business confidence in mature economies continues to fall away caused by concerns over the United States ‘fiscal cliff’ and ongoing fears over the long-term viability of Eurozone is dampening growth prospects, according to the survey.

The IBR reveals that global business optimism stands at just net four percent heading into the New Year. This halts rally in confidence seen in the first half of 2012, when global business optimism reached 23 percent, and brings it nearer to the 0 percent level observed this time last year.

The fall in global business optimism has been largely driven by huge fall in the world’s largest economy, the United States. 

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