Australian business owners are more confident than most of their counterparts around the world about their prospects for the year ahead, according to early results released from the 2008 Grant Thornton International Business Report.
Australian business owners were the seventh most optimistic out of business owners in more than 20 countries surveyed, with 77% expressing confidence about the year ahead.
Indian business owners are the most optimistic business owners in the world, followed by those in the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Hong Kong, perhaps reflecting the generally strong economic conditions currently prevailing in south and south-east Asia.
At the other end of the scale was another Asian country, albeit with a very different economy – Japan. Japanese business owners are overwhelmingly pessimistic about 2008, reporting a balance of pessimism over optimism of 44%.
In global terms, the credit crunch does not appear to have made a big dent in business confidence. On average 42% of business owners reported feeling optimistic about the economic outlook for the next 12 months, just 3% lower than this time last year. Surprisingly, optimism in the United States went up this year to 22%, 6% higher than in 2007.