BUSINESS leaders are growing more optimistic on prospects for the year ahead, according to the Institute of Directors.
The proportion who expect 2013 to be better than last year is greater than those with a pessimistic outlook by a margin of +31%.
The comparable figure for the beginning of 2012 was a gloomy -31%.
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There is also less fear over a return to recession with 16% saying the risk was high, 49% moderate and 34% low.
Chief economist Graeme Leach said: "The risk of a return to recession has not gone away, but it is receding fast."