Local businesses with less than US$10 million in annual turnover are more optimistic about the nation’s economic prospects as the sector’s confidence monitor reached 98 points last quarter from 66 points two quarters ago, a bi-quarterly survey by the Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corp (HSBC) found.
Although the composite index was still below the 100-point neutral level, the 32-point increase outperformed the results of 12 emerging markets, whose index climbed to 107 points from 92 points in the fourth quarter of last year, the survey showed.
Only 22 percent of the 300 respondents remained bearish about prospects in six-month’s time, down from 65 percent six months ago, while 23 percent said that they would increase capital expenditures, up from 11 percent.
“Warming ties with China have provided a silver lining to these businesses, 35 percent of which expects cross-border trades with China to pick up in the next six months,” HSBC said yesterday.
Some 92 percent of businesses said they have no plan to lay off employees and 8 percent of those plan to expand staff by more than 20 percent, the survey found.
For the next six months, the top three issues of concern to small businesses in Taiwan are the value of the New Taiwan dollar, the cost of raw materials and the pace of the US and global economic slowdown, the survey found.
Among the 12 emerging markets surveyed, small businesses in Vietnam were the most optimistic about their nation’s economy, with the confidence index of 150 points. India placed second with 128 points, China had 105 points, Indonesia had 101 points and Malaysia had 99 points.
The index for small businesses in Singapore and Hong Kong lagged behind that in Taiwan at 93 points and 83 points respectively.
“The more mature and open markets [were], the lower their business confidence was,” HSBC said, adding that the less export-dependent they were, the higher the business confidence.
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