Oh, those optimistic Latinos…maybe it’s the climate

As 2011 begins, when it comes to business confidence, optimism is higher in Latin America than in any other part of the world, says a new Grant Thornton Intl. global survey of 5,700 senior executives.

Across Latin America, 78% of business executives are optimistic about their region’s economic performance this year. Elsewhere, optimism in Europe is at 50%; in North America, it’s just 44%. And for those notoriously reserved Asia-Pacific businesspeople, only 40% are optimistic for what 2011 holds for their region.

Within Latin America, Chile scored the highest optimism (95%) of any country surveyed, followed by Brazil (80%), Argentina (75%) and Mexico (71%). Here in the US, optimism is at a lackluster 40%.

Other critical business findings from the survey:

  • Inflation – Highest rates will be in Argentina, India, Turkey and mainland China; lowest rates will be in Japan, Ireland, Greece and Sweden.
  • Plant and machinery investment will be greatest in Brazil, the Philippines, Armenia and Chile; it will be the lowest in Greece, The Netherlands, Ireland and Japan.
  • Employment – The highest growth rates will be in the US, India, Turkey and Chile; lowest growth rates will be in Greece, Ireland, Spain and Poland.
  • Business optimism in China waning – Levels of business optimism in mainland China have taken a dramatic fall over the past 12 months. Only 53% of senior executives in China are now optimistic about the outlook for 2011, compared with 68% last year. This represents one of the largest negative swings in the Grant Thornton 2011 International Business Report.

My Thoughts: After an 18-month-long recession and continuing high unemployment, it might be understandable that only 40% of US business leaders are optimistic, but it’s not a good thing. This survey was conducted back in November and December, before the Bush tax cuts were extended, so the “optimistic percentage” might be higher now. What will it take to shake more nagging negativity? How about some real action by the 112th Congress to ease government regulation and make businesses feel safer about hiring people.

Where do you stand on business confidence in 2011? Post a comment below.

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2 Responses to Oh, those optimistic Latinos…maybe it’s the climate

  1. Pingback: Of palm trees and tradeshows v. snowstorms & shoveling | The Converting Curmudgeon

  2. Elaine Spitz says:

    Very enlightening newsletter, Mark. I feel we’re too quick to spread negativity in our culture. Not that we should stick our heads in the sand and ignore problems, but we could do better with a positive attitude.

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