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Business confidence continues to fade

A survey of professional accountants has suggested that business confidence is low across the UK, though it is slightly more stable in Scotland.

According to the Global Economic Conditions Survey, Scotland’s confidence index is - 20, compared to a UK average of -40 and a global average -30.

The survey,  a collaboration between the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and the Institute of Management Accountants, aims to provide a quarterly record of the state of the global economy based on members views.

While Scotland’s score was not as low as in the south, less than 10 per cent of Scottish respondents believed that the economy is recovering, while 88 per cent believed that it is deteriorating or stagnating.

Overall only 10 per cent of respondents said they were more confident in the prospects of their organisations than they had been three months earlier, against 45% who reported a loss of confidence.

The clear majority of UK respondents (89%) expected stagnation or outright deterioration of the global economy in the near future.

Craig Vickery, head of ACCA Scotland said: “After three consecutive quarters of weakening demand, the cumulative effect is beginning to take its toll on business, and with banks around the world facing an uphill climb towards capital adequacy tightening finance is now adding to this challenge.

“Expectations on government spending in the medium-term were more or less similar to those elsewhere in Britain, but austerity policies are seen as less sustainable in Scotland than they are elsewhere in the UK. Overall, assessments of government economic policy are strongly negative.”

The survey found that professionals in utilities firms, which are often domestically focused and fairly robust to economic conditions, reported some of the strongest net confidence gains. On the other hand, pharmaceuticals and IT / communications firms were some of the hardest hit.

Read the full Global Economic Conditions Survey Report for Q4 2011
 

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