Pool- Philippines business leaders 4th most optimistic in the world


The Philippines ranked fourth in the latest global survey on business confidence, according to UK-based auditing and advisory firm Grant Thornton International.

Survey results released by audit, tax and advisory firm Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A) showed 82 percent of Filipino respondents were upbeat on the economy for the next 12 months. P&A is Grant Thornton's local member firm.

The same survey showed the top ten countries in terms of business optimism were 

  1. Peru (90 percent)
  2. Brazil (86 percent),
  3. United Arab Emirates (84 percent)
  4. Philippines (82 percent)
  5. Georgia (78 percent)
  6. India (74 percent)
  7. Chile (68 percent)
  8. Germany (64 percent)
  9. Mexico (62 percent)
  10. Turkey (60 percent).

The International Business Report (IBR), a worldwide survey of business sentiment, started doing quarterly polls of economic confidence during the last quarter of 2010.

While the level of confidence in the Philippines has been fluctuating, it has consistently outpaced optimism globally and in the ASEAN region, it said.

In an earlier IBR survey, the Philippines ranked third overall with 87 percent in the optimism rating after Chile (95 percent) and India (93 percent).

P&A managing partner and chief executive officer Marivic Españo said the Philippines has managed to remain resilient despite the global uncertainties.

"Now that the global mood has also picked up, particularly among more mature economies, and the government seems determined to make up for its under-spending last year, I think we're on track to maintaining this upbeat outlook," she added.

Forty-five percent of Filipino businessmen said they expect an improvement in the local economy.

Filipino business leaders said they have seen improvement in regulations and reduction of red tape, which was considered roadblocks to their business growth.

Regulations/red tape in the past had consistently emerged as the top obstacle for Filipino business leaders, but now has become less of a hindrance this quarter: 22 percent of local respondents reported it as a business constraint, compared to 32 percent last quarter.

"Bureaucracy has long been a cause for concern for businesses in the Philippines. So while it's good to note that fewer respondents are hampered by it, it bears to mention that it still emerged as the top constraint, along with information and telecommunications infrastructure," Españo said.

She said businesses are feeling the effects of the government's drive to improve the ease of doing business in the country.

The Philippine Business Registration workstation of the Department of Trade and Industry is a good start.

Since the Philippines started participating in 2004, optimism among local business leaders has always tracked an upward trend until 2009, when optimism dropped from a high of 95 percent to 63 percent in reaction to the global financial crisis.

The following year, confidence level marginally improved to 68 percent as business leaders cautiously looked forward to a rebound.

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