06 January 2010

Australian businesses third most optimistic of economy in world

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A global survey has found Australian private businesses are the third most optimistic in the world about the domestic economy in 2010, and Western Australia was the most optimistic state of all.

The survey by global accounting firm Grant Thornton International also found that Australian firms showed flexibility and entrepreneurial spirit in 2009, adapting and making the most of the challenging economic conditions.

The global survey examined the sentiment of more than 7,400 business owners from 36 different economies.

In Australia, the survey of 250 medium to large private businesses in October, found that 79 per cent of those in Australia were optimistic about the local economy compared to only 11 per cent the year before. Of all the Australian states Western Australia was the most optimistic, with 90 per cent of firms confident about 2010.

This Western Australian optimism has been accounted to the strength of the mining sector in that state, which has lead the Australian economy over the past 12 months.

Grant Thornton Australia national head of privately held business, Tony Markwell, said: "Businesses have responded quickly and effectively to changing economic conditions by exploiting their size and flexibility as private entities”.

"Many of our clients have held strong and ensured they have a strategic plan in place for the new marketplace conditions post recession - an approach which has considerably contributed to Australia's positive global position and relative protection from the full impact of the GFC."

In the survey 95 per cent of businesses surveyed in Australia said they expected their revenue to at least remain steady in 2010, 90 per cent expected their profit to stay the same or rise and 95 per cent said they would not lay off staff during 2010.

Australia escaped a technical recession of two consecutive quarters of the economy contracting.

The top country was Chile with 85 per cent of private businesses optimistic, followed by India at 84 per cent.

The global survey examined the sentiment of more than 7,400 business owners from 36 different economies.

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