Business owners in Chile are world’s most confident for future

A yearly assessment that looks at the optimism of privately-held businesses in 36 of the world’s largest economies has put Chile in first place beyond India, Australia and Brazil.

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Global Accounting firm Grant Thornton has put Chile as number one for business optimism in its yearly International Business Report, a survey of over 7,400 privately-held businesses now in its 18th year.

The survey, which was conducted in 36 different countries around the world, placed Chile in first place over India as the most optimistic nation for the first time in six years.

According to an optimism/pessimism balance which works by measuring the proportion of companies reporting they are optimistic, less those reporting they are pessimistic, +85 percent of business-owners in Chile forecasted economic growth for 2011 – showing considerably more optimism about the year ahead than in 2009, which recorded -24 percent. Over four-fifths of businesses in Chile also expected to see an upturn in the global economy by the end of 2010 at the latest.

42 percent of businesses in Chile expect to expand the size of their workforce in 2010, identical to the Latin American average. Profitability expectations of businesses have also risen this year; a balance of +56 percent expect their profits to increase across 2010 compared with -41 per cent 12 months ago.

Chile´s economy has been praised by Joydeep Mjkerji, a leading economist with Standard and Poor’s, the credit rating agency which recently raised the country’s rating to positive, confirming it as a top place to invest in Latin America.

The earthquake that hit Chile, in February 2010, has affected retail, manufacturing, transportation, power generation and agriculture in the short-term. But the major reconstruction that this has warranted will see the construction and materials sectors benefit. Before the earthquake GDP was forecast to rebound strongly this year. The expansion of around five per cent still stands because of the level of construction work expected.

“As the economy exits recession, all businesses will need to face new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities to achieve consolidated growth and lead the way to recovery,” said Alfonso Ibanez, head of Grant Thornton Chile.

For a full copy of the report, click here.