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Survey: Global business confidence hits four-year low

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Survey: Global business confidence hits four-year low

Financial professionals turn pessimistic; China weighs.

Economic confidence is at its lowest point around the world for four years after a sharp drop in business sentiment in the third quarter of 2015, according to a recent survey by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants and Institute of Management Accountants.

The survey showed that finance professionals were gloomier than at any time since 2011, and that the emerging markets of the Asia Pacific region, in particular, have suffered the deepest slump.

"This latest report shows signs that the recovery in the US could be faltering."

The survey follows concerns about the Chinese economy on which so many of them rely, along with a fresh fall in global commodity prices. More firms in the region are putting a freeze on recruitment, investment in staff is falling, and there is less optimism among finance professionals in China itself. Business confidence there is close to its lowest reading since the survey began.

The vast majority of firms are scaling back on investment, with 44% of respondents putting a freeze on recruitment or making job cuts. More than half of surveyed firms said there were fewer profitable opportunities than six months earlier. With the notable exception of China, expectations about government spending fell around the world in the third quarter.

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