Asian business confidence at 10-year low on trade concerns: Survey, Latest Business News - The New Paper

Asian business confidence at 10-year low on trade concerns: Survey

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Confidence among Asian companies in the June quarter fell to its lowest since the 2008-09 financial crisis, as a US-China trade war disrupts global supply chains and shows little sign of easing soon, a Thomson Reuters/Insead survey found.

The Thomson Reuters/Insead Asian Business Sentiment Index tracking companies' six-month outlook worsened in the three months ended June to 53, versus 63 in the previous two quarters. A reading above 50 means optimistic respondents outnumbered pessimists, but worries about a prolonged trade war drove the index to its lowest since the June quarter of 2009, when the first edition of the survey was released.

"There was a big dip (in the index) three quarters ago, and we felt it was the uncertainty about the trade war and people were worried about the future," said Mr Antonio Fatas, an economics professor at global business school Insead.

"We get a sense after four quarters of low numbers that now, it is not just uncertainty, this is a true slowdown in growth," he added.

For a fourth straight quarter, survey participants cited the global trade war as the chief risk to business.

The index staying above the neutral point of 50 suggests companies in the region are not expecting an imminent global recession, but the decade low indicates caution was rising as trade tensions mount. - REUTERS