Businessmen in the Philippines are the third most optimistic in the world in 2016, a survey by international accounting and auditing company Grant Thornton shows.

Grant Thornton said in its quarterly international business report business optimism in the Philippines for the next 12 months reached 84 percent, next to India’s 89 percent and Ireland’s 88 percent.

Optimism is measured in terms of business expectations for revenue, selling prices, employment and profitability.

The study said business optimism across the Asia Pacific region increased to 31 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014, higher than 20 percent in the third quarter and 27 percent recorded in the fourth quarter of 2014.

It said while business optimism slightly dropped in the Philippines to 84 percent in the fourth quarter from 86 percent in the third quarter, the country remained in the top list, globally.

Businesses in Thailand recorded a drop in optimism from 26 percent  to 10 percent in the fourth quarter while Malaysia also saw a decline from 30 percent to 20 percent. China reported a 10-percent increase in the same quarter.

“Fears over the slowdown of the Chinese economy caused a shock to the system in 2015, and in Q4, the optimism of Asia Pacific businesses plummeted. The good news is that it has improved since then. This is partly because the rebalancing of the Chinese economy creates new opportunities; demand for raw materials will not reach the heights we saw in recent years but as the need for services will continue to grow,” said Punongbayan & Araullo chairman and chief executive Marivic Españo.

P&A is the Philippine partner of Grant Thornton.

“At the same time, increasing numbers of firms across Asia Pacific are looking further afield in 2016 and exploring growth opportunities around the world. This is reflected in their improved levels of optimism,” Españo said.

Grant Thornton’s research said that despite revenue expectations in China falling from 33 percent to 21 percent, expectations across Asia Pacific shifted only from 38 percent to 36 percent.

Chinese export expectations slipped more than half from 14 percent to just 6 percent, but across the region expectations held at 11 percent, down by one notch from 12 percent.

Globally, business optimism heading into 2016 stands at net 36 percent, slightly down from the third quarter of 2015 and just above the 35 percent during same period in 2014.

About 38 percent of European Union businesses are optimistic about their economy over the next 12 months, the same level of expectation in the third quarter of 2015.

As published in The Standard dated 03 January 2016