The Philippines’ optimism rating has slightly declined but the country still remained on the top three position in business optimism in 2016, a global survey showed.

New research from Grant Thornton’s International Business Report (IBR), a quarterly global survey of business leaders in 36 economies, revealed that businesses in the Philippines are resolute in their optimism for the coming 12 months.

With expectations for revenue, selling prices, employment and profitability, the Philippines got an optimism rating of 84 percent to land third among 36 countries surveyed.

Businesses were most optimistic in India with 89 percent followed by Ireland at second place with 88 percent.

In the Philippines, business optimism had a slight decrease from 86 percent to 84 percent in the fourth quarter but nonetheless remained in the top globally. Businesses have good expectations for revenue, selling prices, employment, and profitability, according to the survey.

Regionally, business optimism of Asia Pacific firms are particularly resilient. The survey showed that business optimism across the region has increased from 20 percent to 31 percent in the fourth quarter, and is higher than the 27 percent recorded this time last year.

Businesses in neighboring economies such as Thailand have reported a drop in optimism from 26 percent to 10 percent in the fourth quarter, as well as Malaysia (30 percent to 20 percent). China, on the other hand, reported a 10 percent increase.

Marivic Españo, chairperson and CEO of P&A Grant Thornton, said: “Fears over the slowdown of the Chinese economy caused a shock to the system in 2015, and in the fourth quarter, 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.”

“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 continued.

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

Similarly, Chinese export expectations have slipped from 14 percent to just six percent but across the region they have held at 11 percent, down from 12 percent.

Globally, business optimism heading into 2016 stands at net 36 percent – only slightly down from the third quarter in 2015 and just above the 35 percent recorded a year ago.

A net 38 percent of EU businesses are optimistic about their economy over the next 12 months, the same as in the previous quarter. Businesses in Latin America report big quarterly increases in optimism.

“The global economy continues to change and evolve, with shifting landscapes in major economies creating new challenges but also new opportunities. Those businesses with an instinct for growth will be best placed to spot these emerging pockets of opportunity, build new trade links, and make the most of the brighter outlook being reported for 2016,” Españo added.

As published in Manila Bulletin Online dated 03 January 2016