A Grant Thornton survey shows that businesses in Malaysia remain positive about the outlook of the local economy for the current year.
The results of the International Business Report (IBR), a survey of over 11,000 businesses per year across 30 economies, have shown that a balance of 50% of medium to large enterprises (MLEs) in Malaysia are optimistic compared with 49% last year.
This is the highest recorded optimism level for Malaysia since its participation in the survey.
Asean countries have shown a healthy increase in the optimism level from 46% last year to 57% this year.
The Philippines reigns as the most optimistic Asean country with 87% followed by Singapore with 65%. However, businesses in Vietnam have expressed that they are less optimistic this year with 62% compared with 72% last year.
Meanwhile, Asia Pacific, which was last year's leading region for business optimism, has seen a significant fall from 64% to 50% as economies such as China, Australia and New Zealand have showed large negative swings in optimism.
Datuk N.K. Jasani, managing partner of SJ Grant Thornton, said: “The global recession has caught up with Australia and New Zealand. It appears they have both been through something of a reality check' over the last 12 months.
“China experienced warning signs of rising inflation of 5.1% in November, reflecting increases in the cost of food and energy, increasing the likelihood of further interest rate increases. Low costs, particularly of labour, have powered the Chinese economy over the past few years, so it is of little surprise that business confidence is being knocked by these new challenges.”
Meanwhile, 2011 is the first year Latin America has led the world on optimism, according to the survey.
Across Latin America, a balance of 75% of MLE owners are optimistic about their region's economic performance in 2011.
In Malaysia, 68% of business owners indicated that they foresaw an increase in revenue and 45% on increase on profitability this year. In terms of investment, 51% of businesses are expecting to inject more funds in plants and machinery.