Confidence up but Asian firms fear looming recession: Poll
SINGAPORE: Confidence among companies in Asia lifted slightly in the September quarter from 10-year lows, but most firms do not plan on hiring or expect business to pick up as they see a risk of a global recession looming, a Thomson Reuters/Insead survey found.
The Asian Business Sentiment Index tracking firms' six-month outlook rose five points to 58 in the survey.
A reading above 50 means optimistic respondents outnumbered pessimists.
The latest showing, though, means the index has not risen above the mid-60s for a year and is one of the seven weakest readings since the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
"We are in a state of almost permanent uncertainty, which is not leading yet to a crisis but I think at some point we are going to see the cost of it," said Mr Antonio Fatas, a Singapore-based economics professor at global business school Insead.
"Some investments are going to be postponed, some investments are going to be stopped and little by little the engine of growth is going to slow down."
Respondents rated a global recession as the top risk, overhauling trade-war fears which had topped the table for the previous six quarters.
A total of 102 companies responded to the survey, conducted in 11 Asia-Pacific countries.
Participants included firms from automaking to technology such as Canon Inc, SoftBank Group Corp and Hero MotoCorp Ltd. - REUTERS