Survey: business leaders’ confidence growing
Business leaders believe the economy is moving in the right direction and consumer confidence has hit an eight-year high, according to a snapshot of results from a Bermuda survey.
The HSBC Business Confidence Index, based on a survey carried out in June and July this year, rose to 105.5 from the baseline score of 100 established in the first such survey carried out last year.
Most of the 98 business leaders who participated believe the economy has improved over the last 12 months and will continue to improve over the next year.
Total Research Associates, which undertook the survey, added that consumer confidence was 97.2 after the second quarter — the highest score since before the global financial crisis.
TRA added: “Despite this optimism, company leaders show greater optimism in the country’s financial situation than with their own business’ state of affairs.
“Indeed, Bermuda’s future economic direction is now largely embraced by business leaders who believe that the country’s economy will improve in the short-term.
“At the same time, business leaders remain cautiously optimistic about the financial wellbeing of their own organisation over the next year, anticipating that capital expenditures and revenues will either increase or remain the same.
“Capital expenditures are expected to increase by about 26 per cent on average over the next 12 months among those able to provide an estimation.”
Despite perceptions having marginally improved compared to one year ago, the cost of doing business remains a key concern, and this year, there is a greater level of apprehension with respect to Bermuda’s governance.
To improve the business climate, there is a desire for enhanced political stability and government leadership. In addition, a more concerted national effort on economic growth, through business development and increased foreign investments, is needed.
The leading change to positively impact the Bermuda business environment was better Government leadership/political stability (38 per cent), while business development/increased foreign investment was close behind (37 per cent).
The survey found that many employers had frozen salaries or wages, leaving vacant positions unfilled and were conducting internal restructuring or staff transfers as workforce-related means to address the current state of the economy.
“Despite these measures, the data suggests that the job market in the private sector is stabilising, with early signs of improvement in employment levels beginning to be apparent,” TRA added.
“This suggests that the economy may have bottomed out and is now beginning the slow process of rebuilding for the first time since the 2008 global financial crisis.”
Sponsored by HSBC, the Bermuda Business Confidence Index is conducted online with members of an exclusive panel of Bermuda’s senior executives, with representation of both international and domestic companies from all major sectors of the economy.
A total of 398 individuals were sent an invitation to take part from HSBC’s CEO directly. Among them, 98 surveys were completed.
The online survey was conducted between June 16 and July 26, 2015.
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