ECONOMY | Staff Reporter, Singapore

CFO confidence hits three-year low as economic woes mount

1 in 5 expect growth to contract this year.

Optimism among chief financial officers (CFOs) in Singapore dropped to a three-year low in 2016, according to a report by American Express,

Almost a fourth or 24% of executives expect that the economy will contract modestly this year, while 72% said that they will moderate spending to support revenue growth and improve profitability.

Despite economic jitters, 97% of CFOs expect to increase spending this year, while 87% of executives expect to increase hiring.

Among the 15 countries surveyed, the largest declines in confidence were from business leaders in China, Hong Kong and Singapore. Within the Asia Pacific region, only CFOs in Australia (64% versus 60% on 2015) expect the economy to do better this year from 2015.

Worldwide 65% of the business leaders surveyed said they are positive about growth, down from 71% last year. Latin American’s bullish growth expectation of 73% topped the global charts with North America coming in at second at 71%. For the first time in the survey’s history, confidence in Asia/Australia has dipped lower than that for Europe.

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