Global survey of senior business executives finds Latin America most optimistic region in 2011

Confidence levels are higher in Latin America than in any other part of the world.

Confidence levels are higher in Latin America than in any other part of the world, with the region leading the way in business optimism into the new year, according to a global survey of 5,700 senior executives by Grant Thornton International Ltd.

Across Latin America, 78% of business executives are optimistic about their region’s economic performance in 2011. Elsewhere, optimism in Europe is at 50%, while in North America it is just 44%, with the Asia Pacific region the least optimistic region at 40%.

Within Latin America, Chile (95%) scored the highest optimism of any country surveyed, followed by Brazil (80%), Argentina (75%) and Mexico (71%). In the U.S., optimism is at 40%.

Other critical business findings:

  • 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, Philippines, Armenia and Chile; will be lowest in Greece, Netherlands, Ireland and Japan
  • Employment – highest rates will be in the U.S., India, Turkey and Chile; lowest 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 businesses are now optimistic about the outlook for the coming year, compared with 68% last year. This represents one of the largest negative swings in Grant Thornton’s 2011 International Business Report (IBR).

The survey of 5,700 business executives was conducted in November and December of 2010.